Skip to main content

Full text of "The schoole of Abuse [August?] 1579. And a short apologie of the schoole of abuse [November?] 1579"

See other formats





792 Sosson 33333022015438 

The school of abuse 




Ill Amsterdam Avenue 
New York, N. Y. 10023 

Books circulate for four weeks (28 days) unless 

stamped otherwise. 
No renewals are allowed. 
A fine will be charged for each overdue book at 

the rate of 5 cents per calendar day. 

form 046 











- . M 


>\> ' 




G- ?/ 















HALLIWELL". j, o. ESQ., F.R.S., F.S.A., &c. 


KENNEY, JA-I; . i. 






man bv birth, and that he was admitted a scholar of 

Christ Church College, Oxford, on April 4th, 1572, 
"aged 16. or thereabouts." Gosson was, in fact, (as 
appears by the registration of his death, which will be 
introduced hereafter.) in his 18th year ; and the Oxford 
antiquary adds, that " he took one degree in arts, four 
years after his admission, left the university without 

V </ 

completing that degree by determination, and went to 
the great city, where he was noted for his admirable 
penning of pastorals/' Of his pastorals we know 

nothing ; and certainly whatever Gosson has left behind 


him savours more of a satirical than of a rustic cha- 
racter. He became tutor in a family, and soon after- 

t * 

wards wrote at least three plays, some of which were 
acted : on p. 30 of the present republication he men- 
tic: " Catalines Conspiracies, usually brought in at 
the Theatre," as " a pig of his own sow;" and he else- 
where admits himself to have been the author of a 
comedy called " Captain iTario," and of a moral play, 
which had for title "Praise at Parting.' He asserts 

c . 

that he had been " drawn like a novice to these abuses," 
and he entirely abandoned them before he had com- 


pleted his 25th year. The subsequent pages are full 
of self-reproaches for the offences he had in this respect 

" The School of Abuse" came out in 1579 ; and pos- 
sibly Go-son had been led to see the error of his way 
bv Northbrooke's " Treatise." which must then have 


been in the hands of the puritanical readers of such 
productions about a year. Gosson's tract was dedicated 
to " Master Philip Sidney Esqnier;" and we have it on 


no less evidence than that of Spenser (in one of hifl 
letters to Gabriel Harvey, dated m 15SO.) tLu\: G on 
"was for his labour scorned; if. at least, i be in the 
goodness of that nature to scorn." Go-son was either 
not so scorned as to make him hesitate in the same 
year in dedicating to Sidney his " Ephemeridefl of 
Phialo," or the reproof he received on the c . -ion 
was not Q'iven until both those pieces had appeared. 

In his " Epheinerides of Phialo" Gosson informs us 
that the player-, having in vain applied to some members 
of the universities to answer hi- >% School of Abuse," had 
at length found " one in London to write certain honest 

excuses, for so thev term it. to their dishonest abuse-, 


which I revealed." This sentence alludes to Thomas Lodge, 
the dramatist, who very soon afterwards published his 
reply to Stephen Gosson. only two copies of which are 
supposed to exist, both of them wanting the title-page : 
this mutilation was occasioned bv the interference 

some of the public authorities to suppress the work, and 
by the unwillingness of those who happened, by some 
chance, to obtain it to have it found in their ] ssc -ion 
in a perfect state. It consists of three divisions the 

Defence of Poetrv. the Defence of ilusic. and the 

* 7 

Defence of Play- : in the last, Lodge speaks of G< -on 
not only a- a writer, but a- an actor of play- a cir- 
cumstance which GU--OU kept in the back-ground. 

Xo sooner had Loduv'- "honest excuses" made their 
appearance, than d u set about his "Play- con- 
futed in Five Action-," which he dedicated to Sir P. 
AYal-inirham ; but. a- it i- without date, v . n viily 
presume that it wa- not delayed beyond the autumn of 


1581, or the spring of 1582. Hence \ve learn that a 
piece called " the Play of Plays," intended as a prac- 
tical contradiction to Gosson and to the other enemies 
of dramatic representations, had been acted on one of 
the public stages of London. A full description of the 
performance, and of the course and conduct of the plot, 
may be seen in Collier's " History of English Dramatic 
Poetry and the Stage," II. 275. In his " Plays con- 
futed in Five Actions," Gosson terms Lodge " a vagrant 
person, visited by the heavy hand of God," which did 
not come very well from Gosson, considering that he 
had been " a vagrant person" himself. 

Lodge did not think it necessary to pursue the con- 
test in any separate publication, and possibly none such 
would have obtained a licence ; but when he printed 
his "Alarum against Usurers " in 1584, he introduced 
the subject incidentally, not venturing to give any hint 
on the title-page that it was noticed in the course of 
the tract. It is remarkable that the " Alarum against 
Usurers" is dedicated to Sidney, who had " scorned" 
Gosson five years before ; and the reply to Gosson is 
contained in a preliminary address "to the Gentle- 
men of the Inns of Court." Lodge there states, that 
Gosson had procured only an imperfect copy of his 
" Defence of Plays ;" and as a proof that it was with- 
out the title-page, we may notice that Gosson attri- 
butes it to William, instead of Thomas Lodge. In 
how much better and more charitable a spirit Lodge 
wrote than his antagonist, may be judged from the 
subsequent passage, addressed to G osson, at the conclu- 
sion of what Lodge advances in favour of theatrical 


representations : " Having' slandered me without cause, 
I will no otherwise revenge it, but by this means ; that 
now in public I confess thou hast a good pen, and if 
thou keep thy method in discourse, and leave thy slan- 
dering* without cause, there is no doubt but thou 
shalt be commended for thy copv, and praised for thv 

J JT v " 1 v 



In the mean time, the year before Lodge's " Alarum 
against Usurers" issued from the press, Philip Stubbes 
had published his " Anatomy of Abuses," which in- 
cludes a division headed " Of Stage-plays and Inter- 
ludes, with their wickedness." It is singular, there- 
fore, that Lodge did not go a little out of his way to 
advert to it ; especially as the work became extremely 
notorious, and went through two editions in 1583, the 
second impression bearing date the 16th August in 
that year. A beautiful reprint of the work was made 
at Edinburgh in 1836, but unluckily it was taken from 
the fifth edition of 1585, which omits some curious 
and characteristic passages contained in the earliest 
impression. Stubbes was followed by Whetstone in 
his " Touchstone for the Time," appended to his 
" Mirror for Magistrates of Cities," 1584 ; but he con- 
fined his brief censure to " the use of stage-plays on the 
Sabbath-day, and the abuse of them at all times," he 
himself having aspired to the rank of a dramatic poet 
in 1578. In that year came out his " History of 
Promos and Cassandra," the story of which is the 
same as that of " Measure for Measure." 

Gosson had found a powerful anonymous supporter 
of his opinions in the author of " the Second and 


Third Blast of Retreat from Plays and Theatres," 1580. 
This person, like Grosson, had also been an actor, if not 
an author of pieces for the stage ; but one of the most 
remarkable of the early opponents to amusements of 
the kind was William Ranking, although on another 
account. He published his " Mirror of Monsters" in 
1587, filled with the usual abuse of all persons and 
matters connected with theatres, and yet a very few 
years afterwards we find him regularly in Henslowe's 
pay, writing comedies and tragedies for the Earl 
of Nottingham's servants at the Rose Theatre. In 
this respect he was the converse of Stephen Gosson, 
and of his anonymous coadjutor, the author of " the 
Second and Third Blast of Retreat from Plays and 

It is not necessary to carry this sketch farther than 
to mention, that the Puritans persevered in their re- 
sistance to stage-plays with great pertinacity, but with 
so little effect, that the number of theatres and of 
visitors to them increased rapidly, until near the end of 
the reign of Elizabeth, when Dr. Rainolds' " Overthrow 
of Stage-playes ' came out ; about which date (1599) 
some attempts were made to limit the number of 
theatres in and near London, and to restrain dramatic 
performances. Thomas Heywood's " Apology for 
Actors," the most elaborate defence of the profession, 
did not make its appearance until 1612 : it may 
have been called for, by the publication, in 1610, of a 
coarse and violent attack on the stage, in the form of a 
play, under the title of " Histriomastix," which title 
Prynne adopted twenty-three years afterwards. The 


" Eefutation of the Apology for Actors," by J. G., 
was delayed until 1615. Thus the contest regarding the 
stage and its supporters may be said to have remained 
undecided until the Puritans obtained greater power, 
and until Prynne produced his notorious volume in 1633, 
the composition of wliich occupied seven years, while he 
kept adding to his authorities during the four years it 
was in the press. 

Gosson's " School of Abuse" did not come to a second 
edition until 1587 ; but his " Ephemerides of Phialo" 
had been printed for the second time in 1586. At 
what time he was ordained does not appear; but he 
subsequently entered the church, and he was probably 
in orders when, in 1595, he wrote " Pleasant Quippes 
for Upstart Newfangled Gentlewomen," which was 
again printed in 1596. It is not to be wondered that 
it was popular, for it was composed in a smart satirical 
vein, and it had besides the advantage of an attractive 
title : it is also called, in the first impression, " A 
Glasse to view the Pride of vain-glorious Women, 
containing a pleasant Invective against the fantastical 
forreigne toyes, day lie used in Women's Apparel! ;" 
and the authorship of Gosson is ascertained by the 
existence of a presentation copy, of the second edition 
of 1596, with the words Authore Stephen Gosson, 
in his own hand-writing, on the first leaf. As it is a 
great literary curiosity, and as this is the first time 
it has been mentioned as the production of so distin- 
guished an author, we may be excused for adding 
some quotations from it. This " pleasant invective" 
(terms which Gosson applied to his " Schoole of 


Abuse" seventeen years before) commences abruptly 
as follows : 

These fashions fonde of countrey strange, 

Which English heads so much delight, 
Through towne and countrie which do range, 

And are imbrac'd of every wight, 
So much I wonder still to see, 
That nought so much amazeth me. 

If they by painters cunning skill 

Were prickt on walles to make them gave ; 

If glasse in windowes they did fill, 
Or trim'd-up puppets, children's play, 

I would repute them antickes olde : 

They should for me go uncontrolde. 

If they on stage in stately sort, 

Might jet to please the idle's eie ; 
If Maie-game mates for summer sport 

By them in daunce disguisde might be ; 
They would not then deserve such blame, 
Nor worke the wearers half the shame. 

But when as men of lore and wit, 

And guiders of the weaker kinde, 
Doe judge them for their mate so fit, 

That nothing more can please their mind, 
I know not what to say to this, 
But sure I know it is amisse. 

And when sage parents breed in childe 

The greedy lust of hellish toyes, 
Whereby in manners they growe wilde, 

And lose the blisse of lasting joyes, 
I pittie much to see the case, 
That we thus faile of better grace. 


And when proud princoks, rascall's bratte, 

In fashions will be prince's mate ; 
And every Gill that keeps a catte 

In rayment will be like a state, 
If any cause be to complaine, 
In such excesse who can refraine ? 

Tliis is much like Gosson's objurgatory prose style 
turned into verse ; and he afterwards proceeds to par- 
ticularize some of the absurdities of the dress of the 
latter end of the reign of Elizabeth. 

These Holland smockes, so white as snowe, 

And gorgets brave, with drawn-work wrought ; 

A tempting ware they are, you know, 

Wherewith (as nets) vaine youths are caught ; &c. 

These flaming heads with staring haire, 
These wyers turnde like homes of ram ; 

These painted faces which they wearc, 
Can any tell from whence they cam ? 

Don Sathan, lord of fayned lyes, 

All these new fangles did devise. 

These glittering cawles of golden plate, 

Wherewith their heads are richly dect, 
Make them to seeme an Angels mate 

In judgment of the simple sect. 
To peacockes I compare them right, 
That glorieth in their feathers bright. 

These perriwigges, ruffes, armed with pinm 

These spangles, chaines, and laces all, 
These naked paps, the Devils ginnes, 

To \\orkc vainc gazers painfull thrall : 
ITe fowler is, they are his nets, 
Wherewith of fooks great >lor<. he gc 1 ^. 


These apornes white of finest thrid, 

So choicelie tide, so dearlie bought, 
So finely fringed, so nicelie spred, 

So quaintlie cut, so richlie wrought, 
Were they in worke to save their cotes, 
They need not cost so many grotes, &c. 

These worsted stockes of bravest die, 

And silken garters fring'd with gold ; 
These corked shooes to beare them hie, 

Make them to trip it on the molde : 
They mince it with a pace so strange, 
Like untam'd heifers when they range. 

The following early notice of the general employ- 
ment of coaches would have served Mr. J. H. Markland 
for a useful quotation, in his very learned and amusing 
essay upon that subject in the Archaeologia : 

To carrie all this pelfe and trash, 

Because their bodies are unfit, 
Our wantons now in coaches dash, 

From house to house, from street to street. 
Were they of state, or were they lame, 
To ride in coach they need not shame ; 

But being base, and sound in health, 

They teach for what are coaches make. 
Some think, perhaps, to shew their wealth : 

Nay, nay, in them they penaunce take ; 
As poorer truls must ride in cartes, 
So coaches are for prouder hearts. 

Grosson then addresses the male sex, and seriously 
exhorts men not to allow women to be so foolish and 
extravagant. Among other things he says 


Of verie love you them array 

In silver, gold, and jewels brave : 
For silke and velvet still you pay ; 

So they be trimme no cost you save. 
But think you such as joy in these 
Will covet none but you to please ? 

Near the end, he apostrophizes himself, and seems to 
indicate that he was then in holy orders : 

Thou Poet rude, if thou be scorn'd, 

Disdaine it not ; for preachers grave 
Are still dispis'd by faces hornde, 

When they for better manners crave. 
That hap which fals on men divine, 
If thou it feele, doe not repine, &c. 

Let fearfull Poets pardon crave, 

That seeke for praise at everie lips ; 
Do thou not favor, nor yet rave ; 

The golden meane is free from trips. 
This lesson old was taught in schooles 
It's praise to be dispraisde of fooles. 

With this stanza the poem, consisting of forty-nine 
stanzas, concludes. We make no apology for the length 
of our extracts, which are highly curious and charac- 
teristic ; and as we have only been able to quote a com- 
paratively small portion of the whole, we are very glad 
to see that it is the intention of the Percy Society to 
re-print it entire. Hitherto, Gosson's only known pro- 
ductions in verse were lines prefixed to Florio's First 
Fruits, 1578, to Nicholas's History of the West Indir,. 
1578, and to Kerton's Mirror of Man's Life, 1580. 
The " Quippes for Upstart Newfangled Gentlewomen" 
do him great credit as a humorous and satirical ver- 
sifier. Only two copies of the work are known, and 



they are of different editions, dated respectively in 
1595 and 1596, 4to. 

We have supposed Gosson in the church in 1595, 
and he certainly was so in 1598, when he published a 
sermon called " The Trumpet of War," calling himself 
on the title-page, " Parson of Great Wigborow, in 
Essex." Prom Newcourfs Repertorium Ecdesias- 
ticum, it appears that he was instituted to the rectory 
of St. Botolph, Bishopgate, on the 8th of April, 1600 ; 
and, from this date, until 1616, we hear no more of him : 
in that year, (as has been shown in the " Memoirs 
of Edward Alleyn," p. 133,) he addressed a letter to 
the Founder of Dulwich College. How Gosson ob- 
tained that piece of preferment cannot perhaps be ascer- 
tained ; but he kept it until his death, which took place 
in 1623 : the entry in the parish register runs thus : 

" Mister Stephen Gosson, rector of this parish for 
twenty odde year past ; who departed this mortal life 
about five of the clocke on Priday in the afternoone, 
being the 13th of the monthe, and buried in the night, 
17 Peb : 1623, aged 69." 

The papers preserved at Dulwich College in Gossoif s 
hand- writing indicate that he w r as infirm six or seven 
years before his decease. 


Shook of Abuse, 

Containing a plesaunt inuective 
against Poets, Pipers, Plaiers, 
Testers, and such like Caterpillers 
of a Commonwelth : Setting vp 
the Flagge of Defiaunce to their 
mischieuous exercise, and over- 
throwing their Bulwarkes, by Pro- 
pharie Writers, Naturall reason, 
and common expe- 
rience : 

A discourse as pleasaunt for Gen- 

tlemen that fauour learning, as 

profitable for all that wyll 

follow vertue. 

By Stephan Gosson. Stud. Oxon. 

Tuscul. I. 

Mandcre literis cogitationes, nee eas dispoiiere, 
nee illustrare, nee delectatione alitjua uH'tccre 
Lcctorcm, hominis cst intcmpcrantcr abutcntit, 
8f otio, Sf literis. 

bty <) ^ $ > 



2^K J'/Xr: 

Printed at Lo)idon, by Thomas 


, , > . . * ' ^ i -^. 




To the right noble Gentleman, Master Philip 

Sidney, Esquier, Stephan Gosson wisheth 

health of body, wealth of minde, 

rewarde of vertue, advaunce- 

inent of honor and good suc- 

cesse in godly affayres. 

Caligula, lying in Fraunce with a great armye of fighting 
men, brought all his force on a sudden to the sea side, as 
though he intended to cutte over, and invade Englande : 
when he came to the shore, his souldiers were presently set 
in aray, himselfe, shipped in a small barke, weyed ancors, 
and lanched out. He had not played long in the sea, wafting 
too and fro at his pleasure, but he returned agayne, stroke 
sayle, gave allarme to his souldiers in token of battaile, and 
charged every man to gather cockles. I knowe not (right 
worshipful) whether my selfe be as frantike as Caligula in 
my proceedings,, because that after I have set out the flag of 
defiance to some abuses, I may seeme wel ynough to strike 
up the drum, and bring al my power to a vayne skirmish. 
The title of my booke doth promise much : the volume, you 
see, is very little ; and si thence I cannot beare out my folly 
by authority, like an emperoure, I will crave pardon for 
my phrenzye by submission, as your woorshipprs too com- 
maunde. The Schools which I buildo is mirrowe, and at 
the first bluslie appeareth but a doggehole ; yet small 
cloudes cary water; slender tlireedes sowo sure still lies ; 
little heares have their shadowe ; blunt stones whctte kimvs ; 
from harde rockes flow soft springes ; the whole world is 
drawen in a mappe ; Homers Iliades in a nutte shell ; a 
kinges picture in a pennye : little chestes maye hold Create 

i 2 


treasure ; a few cyphers contayne the substance of a riche 
merchant; the shortest pamphlette may shrowde matter; 
the hardest head may geve lighte, and the harshest penne may 
sette downe somewhat woorth the reading. 

He that hath ben shooke with fierce ague giveth good 
counsel to his friends when he is wel. When Ovid had 
roaved long on the seas of wantonnesse, he became a good 
pilot to all that followed, and printed a carde of every daun- 
ger ; and I perswade my selfe, that seeing the abuses which 
I reveale, trying them thorowly to my hurt, and bearing the 
stench of them yet in my owne nose, I may best make the 
frame, found the schoole, and reade the first lecture of all 
my selfe, to warne every man to avoyde the perill. Wherein 
I am contrary to Simonides, for he was ever slowe to utter 
and swifte to conceale, being more sorrowefull that he had 
spoken, then that he had held his peace. But I accuse my 
selfe of discourtesie to my friendes in keeping these abuses 
so long secrete, and now thinke my duetie discharged in 
laying them open. 

A good physition, when the disease cannot be cured within, 
thrusteth the corruption out in the face, and delivereth 
his patient to the chirurgion : though my skill in phy- 
sike bee small, I have some experience in these maladies, 
which I thrust out with my penne to every mans view, 
yeelding the ranke fleshe to the chirurgions knife, and so 
ridde my handes of the cure, for it passeth my cunning to 
heale them privily. 

If your worshippe vouchsafe to enter the Schoole doore, 
and walke an hower or twaine within for your pleasure, you 
shall see what I teache, which present my Schoole, my cun- 
ning, and my selfe to your worthy patronage ; beseeching 
you, though I bidd you to dinner, not to loke for a feast fit 
for the curious taste of a perfect courtier, but to imitate 
Philip of Macedon, who, beeing invited to a farmers house 
when hee came from hunting, brought a greater trayne then 


the poore man looked for. When they were sette the good 
Philip, perceiving his hoste sorrowful for want of meate to 
satisfie so many, exhorted his friends to keepe their sto- 
mackes for the second course ; whereuppon every man fedde 
modestly on that which stoode before him, and lefte meate 
inough at the taking upp of the table. And I trust if your 
worshippe feede sparingly on this (to comforte your poore 
hoste) in hope of a better course hereafter, though the 
dishes bee fewe that I set before you, they shall for this time 
suffice your selfe and a great many moe. 

Your worships to commaund, 



Gentlemen and others, you may wel thinke that I sell you 
my corne and eate chaffe, barter my wine and drink water, 
sith I take upon me to deterre you from Playes, when mine 
owne woorkes are dayly to be seene upon stages, as sufficient 
witnesses of mine owne folly, and severe judges against my 
selfe. But if you sawe howe many teares of sorrowe my eyes 
shed when I beholde them, or how many drops of blood my 
heart sweates when I remember them, you would not so much 
blame me for missespending my time when I knew not what I 
did, as commend me at the laste for recovering my steppes 
with graver counsell. After wittes are ever best : burnt 
children dread the fier. I have seene that which you beholde, 
and I shun that which you frequent ; and that I might the 
easier pull your mindes from such studyes, drawe your feete 
from such places, I have sent you a Schoole of those abuses 
which I have gathered by observation. 

Theodorus, the Atheist, complayned that his schollers were 
woont, how plaine soever hee spake, to misconster him, how 
righte soever hee wrote, to wrest him ; and I looke for some 
like auditors in my Schoole, as of rancour will hit me, howso- 
ever I warde, or of stomake assaile mee, how soever I bee garded ; 
making black of white, chalke of cheese, tho full moone of a 
messe of cruddes. These are such as, with curst curres, barke 
at every man but their owne friendes : these snatch uppe bones 
i n open streetes, and bite them with madnesse in secret corners : 
these, with sharp wimlt's, pearse subtiler in narrowe lanes then 


large fields ; and sith there is neither authoritie in me to bridle 
their tounges, nor reason in them to rule their owne talke, 1 
am contented to suffer their taunts, requesting you, which are 
gentlemen, of curtesie to beare with me, and because you are 
learned amende the faultes freendly which escape the presse : 
the ignoraunt, I knowe, will swallow them downe and digest 

D ' 7 O 

them with ease. Farewel. 



The Syracusans used such varietie of dishes in their ban- 
quets, that when they were set, and their hordes furnished, 
they were many times in doubt which they should touch first, 
or taste last. And in my opinion the worlde geveth every 
writer so large a fielde to walke in, that before he set penne 
to the booke, he shall find him selfe feasted at Syracusa, uncer- 
tayne where to begin, or when to end : this caused Pindaros 
to question with his Muse, whether he were better with his 
art to discifer the life of Nimpe Melia, or Cadmus encounter 
with the dragon, or the warres of Hercules at the walles of 
Thebes, or Bacchus cuppes, or Venus jugling ? He saw 
so many turnings layde open to his feete, that hee knew not 
which way to bende his pace. 

Therefore, as I cannot but commend his wisdom which 
in banquetting feedes most uppon that that doth nourishe 
best, so must I dispraise his methode in writing which, 
following the course of amarous poets, dwelleth longest on 
those points that profit least, and like a wanton whelpe 
leaveth the game to runne riot. The scarabe flies over 
many a sweet flower, and lightes in a cowsherd. It is the 
custome of the flie to leave the sound places of the horse, 
and sucke at the botch : the nature of colloquintida to 
draw the worst humors to it selfe : the manner of swine to 
forsake the fay re fields and wallowe in the my re ; and the 
whole practise of poets, either with fables to shewe their 
abuses, or with playne tearmes to unfolde their mischeefe, 


discover their shame, discredite themselves, and disperse 
their poison through the world. Virgil sweats in describing 
his gnatte ; Ovid bestirreth him to paint out his flea : the 
one shewes his art in the lust of Dido ; the other his cunning 
in the incest of Myrrha, and that trumpet of bawdrie, the 
Craft of Love. 

I must confesse that poets are the whetstones of wit, not- 
withstanding that wit is dearely bought : where home and gall 
are mixt, it will be hard to sever the one from the other. The 
deceitfull phisition geveth sweete syrroppes to make his poyson 
goe downe the smoother : the jugler caste th a myst to work 
the closer : the Syrens songue is the saylers wracke ; the 
fowlers whistle the birdes death ; the wholesome baite the 
fishes bane. The Harpies have virgin faces, and vultures 
talents : Hyena speakes like a friend, and devours like a foe : 
the calmest seas hide dangerous rockes : the woolfe jets in 
weathers felles. Manie good sentences are spoken by Davus 
to shadowe his knaverie, and written by poets as ornamentes 
to beautifie their woorkes, and sette their trumperie to sale 
without suspect. 

But if you looke well to Epaeus horse, you shall finde in his 
bowels the destruction of Troy : open the sepulchre of Semy- 
ramis, whose title promiseth suche wealth to the kynges of 
Persia, you shall see nothing but dead bones : rip up the golden 
ball that Nero consecrated to Jupiter Capitollinus, you shall it 
stuffed with the shavinges of his bearde : pul off the visard 
that poets maske in, you shall disclose their reproch, bewray 
their vanitie, loth their wantonnesse, lament their folly, and 
perceive their sharpe sayinges to be placed as pearles in dung- 
hils, fresh pictures on rotten walles, chaste matrons apparel 
on common curtesans. These are the cuppes of Circes, that 
turne reasonable creatures into brute beastes ; the balles of 
Hippomenes, that hinder the course of Atalanta, and the blocks 
of the Devil, that are cast in our wayes to cut of the race of 
toward wittes. No marveyle though Plato shut them out of 


his schoole, and banished them quite from his common wealth, 
as effeminate writers, unprofitable members, and utter enimies 
to vertue. 

The Romans were very desirous to imitate the Greekes, 
and yet very loth to receive their poets ; insomuch that Cato 
layeth it in the dishe of Marcus, the noble, as a foule reproche, 
that in the time of his Consulshippe he brought Ennius, the 
poet, into his province. Tully accustomed to read them with 
great diligence in his youth, but when he waxed graver in 
studie, elder in yeers, ryper in judgement, hee accompted them 
the fathers of lyes, pipes of vanitie, and Schooles of 

I US. 1 * 

Abuse. Maximus Tyrius taketh uppon him to de- 
fend the discipline of these doctors under the name of Homer, 
wresting the rashness of Aiax to valour, thecoward- 

. -hoy? 15. 

ice of Ulisses to policie, the dotage of Nestor to 
grave counsell, and the battaile of Troy to the woonderfull con- 
flicte of the foure elementes ; where Juno, which is counted the 
ayre, settes in her foote to take up the strife, and steps boldly 
betwixt them to part the fray. It is a pageant woorth the 
sighte to beholde how he labors with mountaines to bring 
forth mice ; much like to some of those Players, that come to 
the scaffold with drumme and trumpet to prefer skirmishe, 
and when they have sounded Allarme, off goe the peeces to 
encounter a shadow, or conquere a paper monster. You will 
smile, I am sure, if you reade it, to see how this morall phi- 
losopher toyles to draw the lions skinne upon ^Ssops asse, 
Hercules shoes on a childes feet ; amplifying that which, the 
more it is stirred, the more it stinkes, the lesser it is talked 
of the better it is liked ; and as waiwarde children, the more 
they bee flattered the woorse they are, or as curste sores with 
often touching waxe angry, and run the longer without heal- 
ing. Hee attributeth the beginning of vertue to Minerva, of 
friendshippe to Venus, and the roote of all handy crafts to 
Vulcan ; but if he had broke his arme aswel as his legge, 
when he fell out of heaven into Lemnos, either Apollo must 


have plaied the bone setter, or every occupation beene layde a 

Plato, when he saw the doctrine of these teachers neither 
for profit necessary, nor to bee wished for pleasure, gave them 
all Drummes entertainment, not suffering them once to shew 
their faces in a reformed common wealth. And the same 
Tyrius, that layes such a foundation for poets in the name of 
Homer, overthrowes his whole building in the person of 
Mithecus, which was an excellent cooke among the Greekes, 
and asmuche honoured for his confections, as Phidias for his 
carving. But when he came to Sparta, thinking there for 
his cunning to be accompted a god, the good lawes of Li- 
curgus, andcustome of the countrey were too hot for his diet. 
The Governors banished him and his art, and al the inha- 
bitants, folowing the steppes of their predecessors, used not 
with dainties to provoke appetite, but with labour and travell 
to whette their stomackes to their meate. I may well liken 
Homer to Mithecus, and poets to cookes : the pleasures of the 
one winnes the body from labour, and conquereth the sense : 
the allurement of the other drawes the minde from vertue, 
and confoundeth wit. As in every perfect common wealth 
there ought to be good laws established, right mainteined, 
wrong repressed, vertue rewarded, vice punished, and all 
manner of abuses thoroughly purged, so ought there such 
schooles for the furtherance of the same to be advaunced, that 
young men may be taught that in greene yeeres, that becomes 
them to practise in gray hayres. 

Anacharsis being demaunded of a Greeke, whether they 
had not instrumentes of musicke or schooles of poetrie in 
Scythia ? aunsweared, yes, and that without vice ; as though 
it were eyther impossible, or incredible that no abuse should 
be learned where such lessons are taught, and such schooles 

Salust in describing the nurture of Sempronia commendeth 
her witte, in that shee coulde frame her selfe to all companies, 


to talke discretly with wyse men, and vaynely with wantons, 
takyng a quip ere it came to grounde, and returning it backe 
without a faulte. She was taught (saith he) both Greek and 
Latine ; she could versifie, sing and daunce better then 
became an honest woman. Sappho was skilful in poetrie and 
sung wel, but she was whorish. I set not this Q ua ij t j es 

downe to condemne the giftes of versifying, daun- allowed in 

, women, 

sing or singing in women, so they bee used with 

meane and exercised in due time ; but to shew you that, as by 
Anacharsis report the Scythians did it without offence, so one 
swallow brings not summer, nor one particular example is 
sufficient proofe for a generall precept. White silver drawes 
a black lyne ; fyre is as hurtfull as healthie ; water is as 
daungerous as it is commodious, and these qualities as harde 
to be wel used when \ve have them, as they are to be learned 
before wee get them. He that goes to sea must smel of the 
ship, and that which sayles into poets wil savour of pitch. 

C. Marius in the assembly of the whole Senate of 

. . Salust. 

Rome, in a solemne oration, giveth an account of his 

bringing up : he sheweth that he hath beene taught to lye on 
the ground, to suffer all weathers, to leade men, to strike his 
fo, to feare nothing but an evill name ; and chalengeth praise 
unto himselfe in that he never learned the Greeke tounge, neither 
ment to be instructed in it hereafter, either that he thought 
it too farre a jorney to fetch learning beyonde the fielde, or 
because he doubted the abuses of those schooles where poets 
w r ere ever the head maisters. Tiberius, the em- p . . 
perour, sawe somewhat when he judged Scaurus maisters in 

._ rof>f*fi 

to death for writing a tragedy ; Augustus when nee 
banished Ovid, and Nero when he charged Lucan to put up 
his pipes, to stay his penne, and write no more. Burrus and 
Seneca, the schoolemaisters of Nero, are flowted and hated of 
the people for teaching their scholer the song of vita 
Attis : for Dion saith, that he hearing thereof Neronis. 
wrounge laughter and teares from most of those that were 


then about him. Wherby I judge that they scorned the folly 
of the teachers, and lamented the frenzy of the scholer, who 
beeing emperour of Rome, and bearing the weight of the 
whole common wealth uppon his shoulders, \vas easier to bee 
drawen to vanitie by wanton poets, then to good government 
by the fatherly counsel of grave senators. They were con- 
demned to dye by the lawes of the Heathens whiche in- 
chaunted the graine in other mens grounds ; and are not they 
accursed, thinke you, by the mouth of God, which having the 
government of young Princes, with poetical fantasies draw 
them to the schooles of their own abuses, bewitching the 
graine in the greene blade, that was sowed for the sustenance 
of many thousands, and poysoning the spring with their 
amorous layes, whence the whole common w r ealth should fetch 
water ? But to leave the scepter to Jupiter, and instructing 
of Princes to Plutarch and Xenophon, I wil beare a lowe 
saile, and rowe neere the shore, least I chaunce to bee carried 
beyonde my reache, or runne a grounde in those coasts which 
I never knewe. My onely indevour shalbe to shew you that 
in a rough cast which I see in a cloude, loking through my 

And because I have been matriculated my self in the 
schoole where so many abuses florish, I wil imitate the dogs 
of jEgypt, which comming to the bancks of Nylus to quench 
theyr thirste, syp and away, drinke running, lest they be snapt 
short for a pray to crocodiles. I shoulde tell tales out of schoole 
and bee ferruled for my fault, or hyssed at for a blab, yf I layde 
all the orders open before your eyes. You are no soner entred 
but libertie looseth the reynes and geves you head, placing you 
with poetrie in the lowest forme, when his skill is showne too 
make his scholer as good as ever twangde : he preferres you to 
pyping, from pyping to playing, from play to pleasure, from 
pleasure to slouth, from slouth to sleepe, from sleepe to sinne, 
from sinne to death, from death too the Divel, if you take 
your learning apace, and passe through every forme without 


revolting. Looke not to have me discourse these at large : 
the crocodile watcheth to take me tardie : whichesoever of 
them I touche is a byle : tryppe and goe, for I dare not tarry. 

Heraclides accounteth Amphion the ringleader of poets and 
pipers : Delphus Philammones penned the birth of Latona, 
Diana and Apollo in verse, and taught the people to pype and 
daunce rounde aboute the Temple of Delphos. Hesiodus was 
as cunning in pipyng as in poetrye : so was Terpandrus, and 
after hym Clonas. Apollo, whiche is honoured of poets as the 
God of their art, had at the one syde of his idoll in Delos a 
bowe, and at the other the three Graces with sundrie instru- 
mentes ; and some writers doe affirme that he piped himself 
nowe and then. 

Poetrie and piping have alwayes been so united togither, 
that til the time of Melanippides pipers were poets 
hyerlings. But marke, I pray you, how they are 
now both abused. 

The right use of auncient poetrie was to have the 

Olde Poets. 

notable exploy tes of worthy captaines, the holesome 
councels of good fathers and vertuous lives of predecessors set 
downe in numbers, and sung to the instrument at solemne 
feastes, that the sound of the one might draw the hearers from 
kissing the cup too often, the sense of the other put them in 
minde of things past, and chaulke out the way to do the like. 
After this maner were the Baeotians trained from rudenesse to 
civilitie, the Lacedaemonians instructed by Tyrtaeus verse, the 
Argives by the melody of Telesilla, and the Lesbians by Alcajus 

To this end are instruments used in battaile, not to tickle 
the eare, but to teach every souklier when to strike and when 
to stay, when to flye and when to followe. Chiron by singing 
to his instrument quenchoth Achilles fury : Torpan- 
drus with his notes laieth the tempest, ami pacifies 
the tumult at Lacedaemon : Homer with his musike cured the 
sick souldiers in the Grecians camp, and purge! li -'very mans 


tent of the plague. Thiiike you that those miracles could bee 
wrought without playing of daunces, dumpes, pavins, ga- 
liardes, measures, fancyes, or newe streynes? They never 
came where this grew, nor knew what it ment. 

Pythagoras bequeathes them a clokebagge, and condemnes 
them for fooles, that judge musike by sound and eare. If you 
will bee good scholers, and profite well in the arte of musike, 
shut your fidels in their cases and looke uppe to Heaven : the 
order of the spheres, the unfallible motion of the planets, the 
juste course of the yeere, the varietie of the seasons, the con- 
corde of the elementes and their qualities, fyre, water, ayre, 
earth, heate, colde, moisture and drought concurring togeather 
to the constitution of earthly bodies, and sustenaunce of every 

The politike lawes in wel governed common 

wealthes, that treade downe the proude and upholde 

the meeke ; the love of the king and his subjectes, the father and 
his chylde, the lorde and his slave, the maister and his man ; 
the trophees and triumphes of our auncestours which pursued 
vertue at the harde heeles, and shunned vice as a rock for feare 
of shipwracke, are excellent maisters to shewe you that this is 
right musicke, this perfecte harmony. Chiron when he ap- 
peased the wrath of Achilles tolde hym the duetie of a good 
souldier, repeated the vertues of his father Peleus, and sung 
the famous enterprises of noble men. Terpandrus, when he 
ended the brabbles at Lacedemon, neither piped Rogero nor 
Turkelony ; but reckoning up the commodities of friendship 
and fruits of debate, putting them in minde of Licurgus lawes, 
taught them to tread a better measure. When Homers 
musicke drove the pestilence from the Grecians campe, ther was 
no such vertue in his penne, nor in his pipe, but, if I might be 
umpier, in the sweete harmonie of divers natures, and wonderful 
Concorde of sundry medicines. For Apolloes cunning ex- 
tendeth it self aswel to phisick, as musicke or poetrie ; and 
Plutarche reporteth that as Chiron was a wise man, a learned 


poet, a skilfull nmsition, so was hee also a teacher of justice 
by shewing what Princes ought to doe, and a reader of 
phisicke by opening the natures of many simples. If you en- 
quire how many such poets and pipers we have in our age, I 
am perswaded that every one of them may creepe through a 
ring, or daunce the wilde morrice in an needles eye. We have 
infinit poets, and pipers, and suche peevishe cattel among us in 
Englande, that live by merrie begging, mainteyned by almes, 
and prively encroche upon every mans purse. But if they that 
are in auctority, and have the sworde in their handes to cut of 
abuses, should call an accompt to see how many Chirons, Ter- 
pandri and Homers are heere, they might cast the summe 
without pen or counters, and sit downe with Racha to weepe 
for her children, because they were not. 

He that compareth our instruments with those that were 
used in ancient tymes shall see them agree like dogges and 
cattes, and meete as jump as Germans lippes. Terpandrus 
and Olimpus used instruments of 7 strings, and Plutarch is 
of opinion that the instruments of 3 strings, which were used 
before their time, passed all that have folowed since. It was 
an old law, and long kept, that no man should according to his 
own humor adde or diminish in matters concerning that art, 
but walk in the pathes of their predecessors. But when new- 
fangled Phrynis becam a fidler, being somewhat curious in 
carping, and serening for moats with a paire of bleard eies, 
thought to amend his maisters, and marred al. Timotheus, a 
bird of the same broode, and a right hound of the same 
haire, took the 7 stringed harp, that was altogether used in 
Terpandrus time, and encreased the number of the strings at 
his owne pleasure. The Argives appointed by their lawes 
great punishments for such as placed above 7 strings upon 
any instrument. Pythagoras commaunded that no musition 
should go beyond his diapason. Were the Argives and Py- 
thagoras nowe alive, and saw how many frets, how many 
stringes, how many stops, how many keyes, how many 



howe many moodes, how many flats, how many sharpes, how 
many rules, how many spaces, how many noates, how many 
restes, how many querks, how many corners, what chopping, 
what changing, what tossing, what turning, what wresting 
and wringing is among our musitions, I believe verily that 
they would cry out with the country man, Heu, quod tarn 
pingui macer est mihi iaurus in arvo. Alas, here is fat feed- 
ing and leane beasts ; or as one said at the shearing of hogs, 
great cry and litle wool, much adoe and smal help. To shew 
the abuses of these unthrifty scholers, that despise the good 
rules of their ancient masters, and run to the shop of their 
owne devises, defacing olde stampes, forging newe printes, 
and coining strange precepts, Phserecrates, a comicall poet, 
bringeth in Musicke with her clothes tottered, her fleshe torne, 
her face deformed, her whole bodie mangled and dismembred: 
Justice, viewing her well and pitying her case, questioneth 
with her howe she came in that plight ? to whom Musicke 
Musicke sore replies that Melanippides, Phrynis, Timotheus, 
wounded. an( j suc ] 1 fantasticall heades had so disfigured her 
lookes, defaced her beautie, so hacked her and hewed her, and 
with manye stringes geven her so many woundes, that she 
is striken to death, in daunger to peryshe, and present in 
place the least part of her selfe. When the Sicilians and 
Dores forsooke the playn song that they had learned of their 
auncestours in the mountaynes, and practised long among 
theyr heardes, they founde out such descant in Sybaris in- 
strumentes that by daunsing and skipping they fel into lewd- 
nesse of life. Neither stayed those abuses in the compasse 
of that countrie ; but like to ill weedes, in time spread so 
farre, that they choked the good grayne in every place. 

For as poetrie and piping are cosen germaines, so piping 
and playing are of great afrmitye, and all three chayned in 
linkes of abuse. 

Plutarch complayneth that ignorant men, not knowing the 
majestie of auncient musike, abuse both the eares of tha 


people, and the arte it selfe, with bringing sweet comfortes 
into Theaters, which rather effeminate the minde as prickes 
unto vice, then procure amendement of maners as spurres to 
vertue. Ovid, the high Martial of Venus feeld, planteth his 
mayn battell in publike assemblies, sendeth out his scoutes to 
Theaters to deserve the enimie, and in steede of vaunte cur- 
riers, with instruments of musick, playing, singing and 
dauncing gives the first charge. Maximus Tyrius holdeth it 
for a maxime, that the bringing of instrumentes to Theaters 
and playes was the first cuppe that poysoned the common 
wealth. They that are borne in Seriphos and cockered con- 
tinually in those islandes, where they see nothing but foxes 
and hares, will never be persuaded that there are huger beasts. 
They that never went out of the champion in Brabant will 
hardly conceive what rocks are in Germany ; and they that 
never goe out of their houses, for regarde of their credite, 
nor steppe from the university for love of knowledge, seeing 
but slender offences and smal abuses within their own walles, 
wil never beleeve that such rocks are abrode, nor such hor- 
rible monsters in playing places. But as (I speake the one 
to my comforte, the other to my shame, and remember both 
with a sorowful heart) I was first instructed in the University, 
after drawn like a novice to these abuses, so will I shew you 
what I see, and informe you what I reade of such affaires. 
Ovid saith that Romulus builte his theater as a horsfaire for 
hoores, made triumphes and set out playes to gather the 
faire women together, that every one of his souldiers might 
take where hee liked a snatch for his share : whereupon the 
amarous schoolmaister bursteth out in these wordes : 

Romule, miiitibus solus dare prcemia nosti : 
Il(cc mihi si dederis commoda, miles cro. 
Thou, Romulus, alone knowest how thy souldiers to reward : 
Graunt me the like, my selfe will be attendant on thy gard. 

It should seeme that the abuse of such places was so great, 
that for any chaste liver to haunt them was a black swan, and 

c 2 


a white crow. Dion so streightly forbiddeth the ancient fami- 
lies of Rome, and gentlewomen that tender their name and 
honor, to com to Theaters, and rebuks them so sharply when 
he takes them napping, that if they be but once scene there, 
hee judgeth it sufficient cause to speake ill of them and thinke 
worse. The shadow of a knave hurts an honest man ; the 
sent of the stewes a sober matron ; and the shew of Theaters a 
simple gaser. Clitomachus the wrestler, geven altogether to 
manly exercise, if hee had hearde any talke of love, in what 
company soever he had ben, would forsake his seat and bid 
them adue. 

Lacon, when hee sawe the Athenians studie so much to set 
out playes, sayde they were madde. If men for good ex- 
ercise, and women for their credite, be shut from Theaters, 
whom shall we suffer to goe thither ? Little children ? Plu- 
tarche with a caveat keepeth them out, not so muche as 
admitting the litle crackhalter, that carrieth his masters 

o ' 

pantables, to set foote within those doores ; and alleageth 
this reason that those wanton spectacles of light huswives 
drawing gods from the heavens, and young men from them- 
selves to shipwracke of honesty, wil hurt them more then if 
at the epicures table they had burst their guts with over 
feeding. For if the bodie be overcharged, it may bee holpe, 

but the surfite of the soule is hardely cured. Here, 

I doubt not, but some archeplayer or other that 

hath read a little, or stumbled by chance upon Plautus come- 
dies, will cast me a bone or two to pick, saying that what- 
soever these ancient writers have spoken against plaies is to 
be applied to the abuses in olde comedies, where gods are 
brought in as prisoners to beautie, ravishers of virgines, and 
servantes by love to earthly creatures. But the comedies that 
are exercised in our dayes are better sifted : they shewe no 
such branne. The first smelt of Plautus these tast of 
Menander : the leudenes of the gods is altred and chaunged 
to the love of young men ; force to friendshippe ; rapes to 


mariage ; woing allowed by assurance of wedding ; privie 
meetinges of bachelours and maidens on the stage, not as 
murderers that devour the good name ech of other in their 
mindes, but as those that desire to bee made one in hearte. 
Nowe are the abuses of the worlde revealed : every man in a 
pi aye may see his owne faultes, and learne by this glasse to 
amende his manners. Curculio may chatte till his heart ake, 
ere any bee offended with his girdes. Deformities are checked 
in jeast, and mated in earnest. The sweetenesse of musicko, 
and pleasure of sporte-s temper the bitternes of rebuke?, and 
mittigate the tartnes of every taunt according to this : 

Omne vafer vitium ridenti Flaccus arnica 
Narrat, et admissus circum precordia ludit. 

Flaccus among his friends, with fawning muse, 
Doth nippe him neere that fostreth foule abuse. 

Therefore, they are either so blinde that they 

\ 11 s\V01'i % 

cannot, or so blunt that they will not see why this 
exercise shoulde not be suffered as a profitable recreation. 
For my part, I am neither so fonde a phisition, nor so bad a 
cooke, but I can allowe my patient a cuppe of wine to moales, 
althoughe it be hotte and pleasant sawces to drive downe his 
meate, if his stomacke be queasie. Notwithstanding, if people 
will bee instructed (Gud bee thanked) wee havo divines enough 
to discharge that, and moe by a greate many then are well 
harkened to : yet sith these abuses are growne to heude, and 
sinne so ripe, the number is lesse then I would it were. Eu- 
ripides holds not him oncly a foole, that being well at lmme 
will gadde abrode, that hath a conduit within dooiv and 
fetcheth water without, but all such beside as have snflieiont 
in themselves to make themselves merry with pleasaimt lalke, 
tending to good and mixed with ivrpmXfa/the Grecians glee, 
yet will they seeke, when they neede not, to be Pporled abnxle 
at playes and pageantes. Plutarch likenetn the recreation 
that is gotte by conference to a plesaunie banquet : tin.- sweete 


pappe of the one sustaineth the body, the savery doctrine of 
the other doth nourish the mind ; and as in banquetting the 
wayter standes readye to fill the cuppe, so in all our recrea- 
tions we shoulde have an iiistructer at our elbowes to feede 
the soule. If we gather grapes among thistles, or seeke for 
this foode at theaters, wee shall have a harde pyttaunce and 
come to short commons. I cannot think that city to be safe 
that strikes downe her percolleces, rammes up her gates, and 
suffereth the enimie to enter the posterne : neyther will I bee 
persuaded that hee is any way likely to conquere affection 
which breaketh all his instrumentes, burneth his poets, aban- 
dons his haunt, muffleth his eyes as hee passeth the streate, 
and resortes to theaters to be assaulted. Coockes did never 
she we more crafte in their junketts to vanquishe the taste, 
nor paynters in shadowes to allure the eye, then poets in 
theaters to wounde the conscience. 

There set they a broche straunge consortes of melodie to 
tickle the eare, costly apparrell to flatter the sight, effeminate 
gesture to ravish the sence, and wanton speache to whette 
desire to inordinate lust. Therefore of both barrelles I judge 
cookes and painters the better hearing, for the one extendeth 
his art no farther then to the tongue, palate and nose, the 
other to the eye, and both are ended in outwarde sense, which 
is common to us with brute beastes. But these by the privy 
entries of the eare sappe downe into the heart, and with gun- 
shotte of affection gaule the minde, where reason and vertue 
shoulde rule the roste. These people in Rome were as plea- 
sant as nectar at the first beginning, and caste out for lees 
when their abuses were knowen. They whome Caesar up- 
helde were driven out by Octavian ; whom Caligula reclaimed 
were cast of by Nero ; whom Nerva exalted were throwne 
downe by Trajan ; whom Anthony admitted were expelled 
agayn, pestred in gallies, and sent into Hellespont by Marcus 
Aurelius. But when the whole rabble of poets, pipers, players, 
jugglers, jesters and dauncers were received agayne, Rome 


was reported to bee fuller of fooles then of wise men. Do- 

mitian suffered playing and dauncing so long in theaters, 

that Paris ledde the shaking of sheetes with i) om ith w -v 

Domitia, and Mnester, the Treuehmouth, with tlu> *** wife 

-,. T ,. ,. of Doniitian, 

Messalina. Caligula made so muche of players ;uulMi>ssulm;i 

and dauncers, that he suffered them openly the se( -' 
to kisse his lippes, when the senators might scarce Dion. 
have a licke at his feete. He gave dauncers great sti- 
pends for selling their hopps, and placed Apelles, the player, 
by his own sweete side. Besides that, you may see what ex- 
cellent grave men were ever about him : he loved Prasinus 
the cocheman so wel, that for good wil to the master he bid 
his horse to supper, gave him wine to drinke in cups of estate, 
set barly graines of gold before him to eate, and swore by no 
bugs that he would make him a Consul ; which thing (saith 
Dion) had ben performed, but that he was prevented by sud- 
dein death ; for as his life was abominable, so was his end 
miserable. Comming from dancing and playing, he was 
slayne by Chaerea, a just reward and a fit catastrophe. I 
have heard some players vaunt of the credite they had in 
Rome, but they are as foolishe in that as Vibius Rufus, which 
bosted himselfe to be an Emperor, because he had syt in 
Caesars chayre, and a perfect orator, because he was married 
to Tullies widow. Better might they say themselves to be 
murderers, because they have represented the persons of Thy- 
estes, and Atreus, Achilles, and Hector; or perfect limme 
lifters for teaching the trickes of every strompet. Such are 
the abuses that I read of in Rome : such are the caterpillars 
that have devoured and blasted the fruit of /Egypt : suche 
are the dragons that are hurt full in Aflricke : such are the. 
adders that sting with pleasure and kill with payne ; and 
such are the basiliskes of the world that poyson, as wel with 
the beame of their sight, as with the breath of their mouth. 

Consider with thy selfe (gentle Reader) the olde discipline 
of Enclando : marke what wee were before, and what we are 

D ' 


now. Leave Rome a while, and cast thine eye backe to thy 
predecessours, and tell me howe woonderfully we have beene 
changed since we were schooled with these abuses. Dion saith 
, j ^ r that English men could suffer watching and labor, 
England in old hunger and thirst, and beare of all storms with 
head and shoulders : they used slender weapons, 
went naked, and wer good soldiours : they fedde uppon rootes 
and barkes of trees : they would stande up to the chinne many 
dayes in marshes without victualles, and they had a kinde of 
sustenaunce in time of neede, of which if they hadde taken but 
the quantitie of a beane, or the weight of a pease, they did 
neither gape after meate, nor long for the cuppe a great while 
Olde exercise a ^er. The men in valure not yeelding to Scythia ; 
in England, the women in courage passing the Amazons. The 
exercise of both was shooting and darting, running and 
wrestling, and trying such maisteries as eyther consisted in 
swiftnesse of feet, agilitie of bodie^ strength of armes, or mar- 
tiall discipline. 

,. T, , But the exercise that is nowe among us is 

jNew England. 

banquetting, playing, pyping, and dauncing, and 
all suche delightes as may winne us to pleasure, or rocke us in 
sleepe. Quantum mutatus ab illo ! Oh, what a wonderfull 
change is this ! Our wrastling at armes is turned to wallow- 
ing in ladies lappes ; our courage to cowardice ; our cunning 
to riot, our bowes into bolles, and our dartes to dishes. Wee 
have robbed Greece of gluttony, Italy of wantonnes, Spayne of 
pride, France of deceite, and Duchland of quaffing. Compare 
London to Rome and England to Italy, you shall finde the 
theaters of the one, the abuses of the other, to bee rife among 
us. Experto crede : I have seene somewhat, and therefore I 
thinke I may say the more. In Rome when playes or pageants 
are shewne, Ovid changeth his pilgrims to creepe close to the 
Saintes whome they serve, and shewe their double diligence 
to lift the gentlewomens roabes from the ground for soyling in 
the duste, to sweepe moates from their kyrtles, to keepe their 


fingers in use, to lay their hands at their backes for an easie 
stay, to looke uppon those whome they beholde, to prayse that 
which they commende, to like everye thing that pleaseth them, 
to present them pomgranates to picke as they set, and when 
all is done to wayte on them mannerly to their houses. In our 
assemblies at playes in London, you shall see suche heaving 
and shooving, suche ytching and shouldering to sytte by 
women ; suche care for their garments that they be not trode 
on ; suche eyes to their lappes that no chippes lighte in them ; 
such pillowes to their backes that they take no hurte ; suche 
masking in their eares, I know not what ; suche geving them 
pippins to passe the time ; suche playing at foote saunt without 
cardes ; such ticking, such toying, such smiling, such winking, 
and such manning them home when the sportes are ended, 
that it is a right comedie to marke their behaviour, to watch 
their conceates, as the catte for the mouse, and as good as a 
course at the game it selfe, to dogge them a little, or follow 
aloofe by the printe of their feete, and so discover by slotte 
where the deare taketh soyle. 

If this were as well noted as il seene, or as openly punished 
as secretely practised, I have no doubt but the cause woulde 
be seared to drye up the effect, and these prettie rabbets verye 
cunningly ferretted from their borrowes. For they that lacke 
customers all the weeke, either because their haunt is un- 
knowen, or the constables and officers of their parish watch 
them so narrowly that they dare not queatche, to celebrate 
the Sabboth flocke too theaters, and there keepe a generall 
market of bawdrie. Not that anye filthinesse, in deede, is com- 
mitted within the compasse of that ground, as was once done 
in Rome, but that every wanton and [his] paramour, even v 
man and his mistresse, every John and his Joane, every kn;i\.> 
and his queane are there first acquainted, and cheapen the mar- 
chandise in that place, which they pay for else where, as they 
can agree. These wormes, when they dare not nestle in the 
pescod at home, find refuge abrode and ar hidde in the eares 
of other mens corne. 


Every vauter in one blind taverne or other is 
Brodel Houses. 

tenant at will, to which she tolleth resort, and 
playes the stale to utter their victuals, and helpe them to emptie 
their mustie caskes. There is she so entreated with woordes 
and received with curtesie, that every back roome in the house 
is at her commaiindement. Some that have neyther land to 
mainteine them, nor good occupation to get their bread, desi- 
rous to strowte it with the best, yet disdayning to live by the 
sweat of their browes, have founde out this cast of ledgerde- 
mayne to playe fast and loose among their neighbours. If 
any part of musicke have suffred shipwrecke and arived by for- 
tune at their fingers endes, with shewe of gentility they take 
up faire houses, receive lusty lasses at a price for boordes, and 
pipe from morning till evening for wood and coale. By the 
brothers, cosens, uncles, great grandsiers, and suche like 
acquayntance of their gheastes, they drink the best, they syt 
rent free, they have their owne table spread to their handes 
without wearing the strings of their purse, or any thing else 
but housholde and honestie. When resort so encreaseth that 
they grow in suspition, and the pottes which are sent so often 
to the taverne gette such a knock before they come home, that 
they returne their maister a cracke to his credite, though hee 
bee called in question of his life, he hath shiftes yenough to 
avoyd the blank. If their houses bee searched, some instru- 
mente of musicke is laide in sighte to dazell the eyes of every 
officer, and all that are lodged in the house by night, or frequent 
it by day, come thither as pupilles to be well schoolde. Other 
there are, which beyng so knowne that they are the bye word 
of every mans mouth, and pointed at commonly as they passe 
the streetes, eyther couch themselves in allies or blinde lanes, 
or take sanctuary in Frieries, or live a mile from the cittee, 
like Venus nunnes in a cloyster of Nuington, RatlifF, Islington, 
Hogsdon or some such place, where like penitentes they deny 
the world, and spende theire dayes in double devotion ; and 
when they are weery of contemplation, to consort themselves 


and renue their acquaintance, they visit Theaters, where they 
make full accompt of a pray before they depart. 

Solon made no law for parricides, because he feared that he 
should rather put men in mind to commit such offences, then 
by any strange punishment geve them a bit to keep them 
under ; and I intend not to shew you al that I see, nor half 
that I here of these abuses, lest you judge me more wilful to 
teach them, then willing to forbid them. I looke stil when 
Players shoulde cast me their gauntlettes, and challenge a corn- 
bate for entring so farre into theyr possessions, as thoughe I 
made them Lordes of this Misrule, or the very schoolemaisters 
of these abuses : though the best clarks be of that opinion, 
they heare not mee saye so. There are more howses then 
parishe churches, more maydes then Maulkin, more wayes to 
the wood then one, and more causes in nature then efficientes. 
The carpenter rayseth not his frame without tooles, nor the 
Divell his woorke without instrumentes : w r ere not Players the 
meane to make these assemblies, suche multitudes woulde hardly 
bee drawne in so narrowe a roome. They seeke not to hurte, 
but desire to please : they have purged their comedies of 
wanton speaches, yet the corne which they sell is full of cockle, 
and the drinke that they drawe overcharged with dregges. 
There is more in them then we perceive : the Divell standes at 
our elbowe when we see not, speaks when we heare him not, 
strikes when we feele not, and woundeth sore when he raseth 
no skinne nor rentes the fleshe. In those thinges that we lest 
mistrust the greatest daunger doeth often lurke i the countrie- 
man is more afraid of the serpent that is hid in the grasse, 
than the wilde beaste that openly feedes upon the mountaines : 
the marriner is more endaungered by privye shelves thru 
knowen rockes : the souldier is sooner killed with a little bullet 
then a long sworde. There is more perill in close fistuloes 
then outward sores, in secret ambushe then mayne batteles, in 
undermining then playne assaulting, in friendes then foes, in 
civill discorde then forrayne warres. Small are the abuses, 


and slight are the faultes that nowe in Theaters escape the 
poets pen ; but tall cedars from little graynes shoote high : 
greate oakes from slender rootes spread wide : large streames 
from narrowe springes runn farre : one little sparke fiers a 
whole citie : one dramme of Elleborns raunsacks every vayne : 
the fishe Remora hath a small body, and great force to staye 
shippes agaynst winde and tide : Ichneumon, a little worme, 
overcomes the elephant : the viper felayes the bull ; the weesell 
the cockatrice, and the weakest waspe stingeth the stoutest 
man of warre. The height of Heaven is taken by the staffe : 
the bottome of the sea sounded with lead : the farthest 
cost discovered by compasse : the secrets of nature searched by 
wit : the anotomy of man set out by experience ; but the 
abuses of Plaies cannot be showen, because they passe the 
degrees of the instrument, reach of the plummet, sight of the 
minde, and for tryall are never broughte to the touchstone. 
Therefore, he that wil avoyde the open shame of privie sinne, 
the common plague of private offences, the greate wrackes of 
little rockes, the sure disease of uncertaine causes, must set 
hande to the sterne, and eye to his steppes to shun the occasion 
as neere as he can ; neither running to bushes for renting his 
clothes, nor rent his clothes for emparing his thrift, nor walke 
upon yse for taking of a fall, nor take a fall for brusing him- 
selfe, nor go to Theaters for beeing allured, nor once bee 
allured for feare of abuse. 

Bunduica, a notable woman and a Queene of Englande that 
time that Nero was Emperour of Rome, having some of the 
Romans in garrison heere against her, in an oration which she 
made to her subjects, seemed utterly to contemne their force 
and laugh at their folly. For shee accounted them unworthy 
the name of men, or title of souldiers, because they were 
smoothly appareled, soft lodged, daintely feasted, bathed in 
warme waters, rubbed with sweet oyntments, strewd with fine 
The Queenes poulders, wine swillers, singers, dauncers and 
Majestic. players. God hath now blessed England with 


a Queene, in vertue excellent, in power mighty, in glory re- 
nowned, in government politike, in possession rich, breaking 
her foes with the bent of her browe, ruling her subjects with 
shaking her hand, removing debate by diligent foresight, filling 
her chests with the fruites of peace, ministring justice by order 
of law, reforming abuses with great regarde, and bearing her 
swoord so even, that neither the poore are trode under foote, 
nor the rich suffred to looke to hye : nor Rome, nor France, 
nor tyrant, nor Turke dare for their lives to enter the list. But 
we, unworthy servants of so milde a mistresse, degenerate 
children of so good a mother, unthankful subjects of so loving 
a prince, wound her swete hart with abusing her lenitie, and 
stir Jupiter to anger to send us a storke that shal devoure us. 
How often hath her Majestic, with the grave advice of her 
whole Councel, set downe the limits of apparel to every degree, 
and how soone againe hath the pride of our harts overflowen 
the chanel ? Howe many times hath accesse to theaters beene 
restrained, and howe boldely againe have we reentred ? over- 
lashing in apparel is so common a fault, that the verye hyer- 
lings of some of our plaiers, which stand at reversion of vl s by 
the weeke, jet under gentlemens noses in sutes of silke, exer- 
cising them selves to prating on the stage, and common scoffing 
when they come abrode, where they looke askance over the 
shoulder at every man of whom the Sunday before they begged 
an almes. I speake not this as though every one that pro- 
fesseth the qualitie so abused him selfe, for it is wel knowen 
that some of them are sober, discreete, properly Somo layera 

learned, honest housholders, and citizens well mod^i,'!' I be 

. . not deceived, 

thought on amonge their neighbours at home, 

though the pride of their shadowes (I meane those hangbyes 
whome they succour with stipend) cause them to bee somewhat 
il talked of abrode. 

And as some of the players are farre from abuse, so some of 
their playes are without rebuke, which are easily remem- 


bered. is quickly reckoned. The two pr:~r 

:: .- ---: .-'--. bookes played at the BrL^Tige. where YOU shall 
finde never a woorde without witte, never a line 

thout pith, never a letter placed in vainr. The Jr?r. and 
2 : :-lome. showne at the Bull ; the one representing the greedi- 
nesse of worldly chu=- . -. ind bloody mindes of usurers ; the 
other very lively describing howe seditious estates with their 
wne ievises, false friendes with their owne swoords. and re- 
bellious commons in their owne snares are overthrowne ; neither 

th amorous _-r-ture wounding the eye, nor with sloven ".y 
talke hurting the eares of the chast heart, s The Black 
Snntitt Diu^hter, and Catilins Conspiracies, usually brought in 
at the Ties/rer : t:.e r=te jontaining the trechery of Turks, the 

honourable bonntve of a noble mind, the shining of vertue in 


Ii=tre=s-. Tne last because it is knowen to be a p'_- .: mine 
owne Sowe, I will speake the lesse of it : onely giving you to 
understand that the whole mark which I shot at in that woorke 
was to shcvre t:.e rewarde of trayt:r= in Catiline, and the 
necessary government ;f learned men in the person of Cicero, 
vrr_k:: fixBea ewery izi-zer that is likely to happen, and for- 
stalles it continually '-.:'-. it take effect. Therefor- I ^rive th 

playes the commendation that 3Ic.xirr.-~ Tvrius 

; ; 

'^.~;~ to H'.rr.eri WOrks <coXa pep yap Ta f Opfipov emj, 

rai ercv ra KaXXurra, cm <f)at*fturu, KOJ. a&eaQai fi/7i cralj rr^e ovra dXXa o^ 

nm caXa, c-. . caXa. 

Tr.ese playes are good pl^ye^ and ?weete pkyee, and of all 
^yes the best pla;. "-.-.. and most to be liked, woorthy to be 
sou _ .i tie M : -L^r=. or set out with the cunning of Rv.';iii5 
rn self, yet are they not fit for every mans dyet : 
v . -. '-: - : .-- neit:. . . . vht they commonly to be showen. X 
if any man aske me why my selfe have pen 
eomedyes in time past, and inveigh H - :.-y against them 
here, let him knowe the.'. o//'//e?. I 

sinned, and am sorry for my fault : he runn : that never 
turnes: better late then neve. I _ :. : bo that ex- 


ercise in hope to thrive, but I burnt one candle to seeke ano- 
r : bothe mv time and my tra 

* . 

Thv.f f in r_ _ ::red WK. 

and wrino^no;- - - =: 


X: :th all thy traine. till I wipe the blot from : 

forhead, and with s springs was 

cleaves to my soul M. . . if pi be en 

count for - : " _ r thes 

not have them to aun 5 r P: ilfs ill :;r ' - : 

Rome when they were complayned on, and Augusta 

T/.i? resorte, ~oDd for thee. 

for heere wee keepe thousandes of i.i xcu- 

pied, which else peradventurf i. brue some mischie: . 

A nt cloude to cover their abi> .Inot unlike to the starting 
hole that Lucini.:- : rho Hke a ^: reiour, beeL" ^ 

- ::t into Fraunoe to goven the con 

spoyled them of all their treasu :h unreasonahle ta- s 

at the last . when his crueltie was so 1 : At 
every man heard it, and all his packing di sot 

tha: Au:rv.?:v.? smdl it, hee bro:: r : _ J E^: ate 

- house, flapped Hm in the mouth with a smooth od 

bolde him, ti. r his s sa:e::e of j^^ . .^ _ 

R ; : . i . _ ered that riches, th - 

- i ' - - 

povens. me count :./ tor rys _ in armes, an E 

ho".'. re Frenchmen: f : g -vr 

A V . ^n none at all. 

becau- Fivnciiman paid tribute every rnon 

moneth? c. I thes< .re allo^ 

- Sui ' . 4 or v x . ' s at leas 
we 1 . .11 thiv >g '. _ - - ' 

\v his pev^ple for running 

their pur^ - r thr: ng to fas . - had t 

5t to plaister upp 1 s h the lo^- 51 1 

trust that thov which have i sn r han.. 


us to pare away this putrified flesh, are sharp sighted and wil 
not so easely be deluded. 

Epistola ad Marcus Aurelius saith, that players falling from 
Lambertum. j u?t ] a ] DOur to un j us te idlenesse doe make more 

trewands, and ill husbands, then if open schooles of unthrifts 
and vacabounds were kept. Who soever readeth his epistle 
to Lambert, the governour of Hellespont, when players were 
banished, shall finde more against them, in plainer termes, 
then I will utter. 

This have I set downe of the abuses of poets, pipers and 
players, which bring us to pleasure, slouth, sleepe, sinne, and 
without repentaunce to death and the devill : whiche I have 
not confirmed by authoritie of Scriptures, because they are 
not able to stand uppe in the sight of God ; and sithens they 
dare not abide the fielde, where the worde of God doth bid 
them battaile, but runne to antiquities (though nothing be 

Scriptures more anc i en t then holy Scriptures) I have given 
too hoate for r . . 

Players. them a volley of prophan writers to begin the 

skirmish, and doone my indevour to beate them from their 
holdes with their owne weapons. The patient that wil be 
cured of his owne accord must seeke the meane : if every 
man desire to save one, and drawe his owne feete from 
Theaters, it shall prevaile as much against these abuses, as 
Homers Moly against witchcraft, or Plinies peristerion against 
the by ting of dogges. 

God hath armed every creature against his enemie : the 
lyon with pawes, the bull with homes, the bore with tuskes, 
the vulture with tallents, harts, hindes, hares and such like with 
swiftnesse of feet, because they are fearefull, every one of 
them putting his gifte in practise ; but man, which is lord of 
the whole earth, for whose service herbes, trees, rootes, plants, 
fish, foule and beasts of the fielde were first made, is farre 
worse then the brute beastes : for they, endewed but with 
sence, doe, appetere salutaria et decimetre noxia^ seeke that 
which helpes them, and forsake that which hurtes them. 


Man is enriched with reason and knowledge ; with know- 
ledge to serve his maker and governe himselfe ; with reason 
to distinguish good and ill, and chose the best, neither refer- 
ring the one to the glory of God, nor using the other to his 
owne profite. 

Fire and ay re mount upwardes, earth and water Corpora na- 

turalia ad lo- 

sinke downe, and every insensible body els never cum 

rests til it bring it selfe to his owne home. But 

seclibus ac- 

we, which have both sense, reason wit and under- quiescunt. 
standing, are ever overlashing, passing our bounds, going 
beyond our limites, never keeping our selves Man unmind- 
within compasse, nor once loking after the place fuloi lnsen( l- 
from whence we came, and whither we muste in spighte of our 
hartes. Aristotle thinketh that in greate windes His. AnemaL 
the Bees carry little stones in their mouthes to peyse their 
bodies, leste they bee carryed away or kept from their hives, 
unto whiche they desire to returne with the fruites of their 
labour. The crane is said to rest uppon one leg, and holding 
uppe the other keeps a pebble in her claw, which as soone as 
the sences are bound by approche of sleepe falles to the 
grounde, and with the noyse of the knock against the earth 
makes her awake, whereby shee is ever ready to prevent her 
enemyes. Geese are foolish byrdes, yet when they flye over 
the mount Taurus they showe great wisdome in their own 
defence ; for they stop their pipes ful of gravel to avoide 
gaggling, and so by silence escape the eagles. Woodcocks, 
though they lack witte to save them selves, yet they want not 
wit to avoyde hurte, when they thrust their heads in a bnshe 
and thinke their bodyes out of danger. But wiv, which an- 
so brittle that we breake with ovory fillop, so wrako tliat we 
are drawne with every thread, so light that wrc an- hlowen 
away with every blast, so unsteady that we slip in ever] 
ground, neither peyse our bodyes against tho wind*-, nor .-tmul 
uppon one legge for sleeping too much, nor close up}) our 
iippes for betraying our selves, nor use any witte to 



our owne persons, nor shewe our selves willing to shunne our 
owne harrnes, running most greedily to those places where 
wee are soonest overthrowne. I can not liken our affection 
better then to an arrowe, which, getting libertie, with winges 
is carryed beyonde our reach ; kepte in the quiver it is still 
at commaundement : or to a dogge ; let him slippe, he is 
straight out of sight ; holde him in the lease, hee never 
stirres : or to a colte ; give him the bridle, he flinges about ; 
raine him hard and you may rule him : or to a ship ; hoyst 
the sayles, it runnes on head ; let fall the ancour, all is well : 
or to Pandoraes boxe ; lift upp the lidde, out flyes the Devil ; 
shut it up fast, it cannot hurt us. 

Let us but shut uppe our eares to poets, pipers and 
players ; pull our feete backe from resorte to theaters, and 
turne away our eyes from beholding of vanitie, the greatest 
storme of abuse will bee overblowne, and a faire path troden to 
amendment of life : were not we so foolish to taste every 
drugge and buy every trifle, players woulde shut in their 
shops, and carry their trash to some other country. 

Themistocles in setting a peece of his ground to sale, among 
all the commodities which w r ere reckoned uppe, straightly 
charged the cryer to proclaime this, that hee which bought it 
should have a good neighbour. If players can promise in 
woordes, and performe it in deedes, proclame it in their billes, 
and make it good in their Theaters, that there is nothing there 
noysome to the body, nor hurtfull to the soule, and that 
every one which comes to buy their jestes shall have an honest 
neighbour, tagge and ragge, cutte and long tayle, goe thither 
and spare not, otherwise I advise you to keepe you thence : my 
selfe will beginne to leade the daunce. 

I make just reckoning to bee helde for a Stoike in dealing 
so hardly with these people ; but all the keyes hange not at 
one mans girdell, neither doe these open the lockes to all 
abuses. There are other which have a share with them in 
their schooles ; therfore ought they to daunce the same rounde, 


and be partakers together of the same rebuke. Fencers, Dicers, 
Dauncers, Tumblers, Carders and Bowlers. 

Dauncers and Tumblers, because they are dumbe r) aullcers an j 
Players, and I have glaunced at them by the way, Tumblers. 
shall be let passe with this clause, that they gather no assem- 
blyes, and goe not beyonde the precincts which Peter Martyr 
in his Commentaryes uppon the Judges hath set them downe. 
That is, if they will exercise those qualityes, to doe it privilye 
for the health and agilitie of the body, referring all to the 
glorie of God. 

Dycers and Carders, because these abuses are as Dicers and 
commonly cryed out on as usually showen, have no Carders. 
neede of a needelesse discourse, for every manne seeth them, 
and they stinke almoste in every mans nose. Com- Bern-lino- Al- 
mon bowling allyes are privy mothes, that eate le J s - 
uppe the credite of many idle citizens, whose gaines at home 
are not able to weigh downe their losses abroade ; whose 
shoppes are so farre from maintaining their play, that their 
wives and children cry out for bread, and goe to bedde supper- 
lesse ofte in the yeere. 

I woulde reade you a lecture of these abuses, but my Schoole 
so increaseth that I cannot touch all, nor stand to amplifie every 

povnte. One worde of fencing, and so a conyS to 

1 cuccrs. 
all kinde of playes. The knowledge in weapons 

may bee gathered to be necessary in a common wealth by the 

Senators of Rome, who in the time of Catiline con- 


spiracyes caused Schooles ot Defence to be erected 

in Capua, that teaching the people howe to wardi 1 , and how to 
locke, howe to thrust and howe to strike, they might the more 
safely coape with their enemyes. As the arte of logiijue was 
first sette downe for a rule by whichr wv might ro/////v//< /< 
nostra ct refutare alicud, confirme our owne reasons and con- 
fute the allegations of our adversary-. >, the end being trueth, 
which once fished out by the liarde incounti-r ni' cithers argu- 
mentes, like fire by the knorkinge of rlintes toother, bothe 


partes shoulde be satisfied and strive no more. And I judge 
that the craft of defence was first devised to save our selves 
harmelesse, and holde enimies still at advantage, the ende 
being right, which once throughely tryed out at handye 
stroakes, neither hee that offered injurie should have his wil, 
nor he that was threatened take any hurte ; but both be con- 
tented and shake handes. 

Those dayes are nowe changed : the skill of logicians is 
exercised in caveling ; the cunning of fencers applied to quar- 
relling : they thinke themselves no schollers, if they be not able 
to finde out a knotte in every rushe ; these no men, if for 
stirring of a strawe they prove not their valure uppon some 
bodies fleshe. Every Duns will bee a carper; every Dicke 
Swashe a common cutter. But as they bake, many times so 
they brue : selfe doe, selfe have : they whette their swords 
against themselves, pull the house on their owne heades, re- 
turne home by Weeping Crosse, and fewe of them come to an 
honest ende ; for the same water that drives the mil, decay eth 
it : the wood is eaten by the worme that breedes within it : the 
goodnes of a knife cuts the owners finger : the adders death is 
her owne broode ; the fencers scath his owne knowledge. 
Whether their harts be hardened which use that exercise, or 
God geve them over, I knowe not well : I have read of none 
good that practised it muche. Commodus, the 
fencer and Emperour, so delighted in it, that often times he 

exercised in g ] ue one or o ther at home to keepe his fingers in 
murder. x p 3 

use ; and one day hee gathered all the sicke, lame, 

and the impotent people in one place, where hee hampred their 
feete with strange devises, gave them soft spunges in their 
handes to throwe at him for stones, and with a great clubbe 
knatched them all on the hed as they had been giauntes. 

Epaminondas, a famous captaine, sore hurte in a 
Epaminondas A 

minde on his battayle, and carried out of the feelde halfe dead, 

when tydinges was broughte him that his souldiers 

gotte the day, asked presently what became of his buckler ? 


whereby it appeareth that he loved his weapons, but I finde it 
not said that he was a fencer. Therefore I may liken them, 
which would not have men sent to the warre till they are 
taughte fencing, to those superstitious wisemen which would 
not take upon them to burye the bodies of their friendes, 
before they had beene cast unto wilde beastes. Fencing is 
growne to such abuse, that I may well compare the schollers of 
this schoole to them that provide staves for their owne shoul- 
ders ; that foster snakes in their owne bosoms ; that trust 
wolves to garde their sheepe, and the men of Hyrcania that 
keepe mastiffes to woorrye themselves. 

Though I speake this to the shame of common fencers, I 
goe not aboute the bushe with souldiers. Homer calleth them 
the Sonnes of Jupiter, the images of God, and the very sheepe- 
herds of the people : beeing the Sonnes of Jupiter, they are 
bountifull to the meeke, and thunder out plagues to the proude 
in heart : being the images of God, they are the welsprings of 
justice, which geveth to every man his owne : beeing accompted 
the shepheardes of the people, they fight with the woolfe for 
the safetie of their flock, and keepe of the enimie for the 
wealth of their countrie. Howe full are poets woorkes of 
bucklers, battels, launces, dartes, bowes, quivers, speares, ja- 
velins, swords, slaughters, runners, wrestlers, charlottes, hoi 
and men at armes ! Agamemnon, beyonde the name of a king, 
hath this title, that he was a souldier. Menelaus, because he 
loved his kercher better then his burgonet, a softo bod then a 
hard fielde, the sound of instrumentes then neighing of Bteedes, 
a fayre stable then a foule way, is let slippe without prayse. 
If Lycurgus, before hee make lawes for Sparta, take eoimsell 
of Apollo whether it were good for him to teach the pe 
thrifte, and husbandrie, he shalbe charged to leave those 
ceptes to the white liverd Hylotes. The Spartanes ;ire nil 
steele, fashioned out of tougher meltall, free in mind, valiant 
in heart, servile to none ; accustoming their hV.-he to -tripf-, 
their bodies to labour, their feete to hunting, llii'ir handes to 


fighting. In Crete, Scythia, Persia, Thracia, all the lawes 
tended to maintenance of martial discipline. Among the 
Scythians no man was permitted to drinke of their festivall 
cuppe, which had not manfully killed an enimy in fight. I 
coulde wish it in Englande, that there were greater preferment 
for the valiant Spartans, then the sottishe Hilotes ; that our 
lawes were directed to rewarding of those whose lives are the 
first that must be hazarded to maineteyne the liberty of the 
lawes. The gentlemen of Carthage were not allowed to weare 
any more linkes in their chaynes, then they had seene battailes. 
If our gallantes of Englande might carry no more linkes in 
their chaynes, nor ringes on their fingers, then they have fought 
feelds, their neckes should not bee very often wreathed in 
golde, nor their handes imbrodered with precious stones. If 
none but they might be suffered to drinke out of plate, that 
have in skirmish slain one of her Majesties enimies, many 
thousands shoulde bring earthen pots to the table. 

Let us learn by other mens harme to looke to our selves. 
When the ^Egyptians were moste busy in their husbandrie, the 
Scythians overran them : when the Assyrians wer looking to 
their thrift, the Persians were in armes, and overcam them : 
when the Trojans thought themselves safest, the Greekes were 
nearest : when Rome was a sleepe, the Frenche men gave a 
sharpe assault to the Capitoll : when the Jewes were idle, 
their walles were rased and the Romans entred : when the 
Chaldees were sporting, Babilon was sacked : when the Se- 
nators were quiet, no garisons in Italy, and Pompey from home, 
wicked Catiline began his mischevous enterprise. We are like 
those unthankfull people which puffed up with prosperity 
forget the good turnes they received in adversity. The patient 
feeds his Phisition with gold in time of sicknes, and when he is 
wel, scarsely affoords him a cup of water. Some there are that 
make gods of soldiers in open warrs, and trusse them up like 
dogs in time of peace. Take heed of the foxeford night cap ; I 
meane those schoolemen that cry out upon Mars, calling him 


the bloody god, the angry god, the furious god, the mad god, 
v&4}xgv{, the teare thirsty god. These are but casts of their 
office and wordes of course. That is a vain brag, and a false 
allarme that Tullie gives to soldiers, 

Cedant arma togc?, concedat laurea lingua 
Let guuns to gouns, and bucklers yeeld to bookes. 

If the enimy beseege us, cut off our victuals, prevent forreine 
aide, girt in the city, and bring the ramme to the walles, it is 
not Ciceroes tongue that can peerce their armour to wound 
the body, nor Archimedes prickes, and lines, and circles, and 
triangles, and rhombus, and riffe raffe that hath any force to 
drive them backe. Whilst the one chats, his throte is cut ; 
whilest the other syttes drawing mathematical! fictions, the 
enimie standes with a swoord at his breast. Hee that talketh 
muche and doeth little is like unto him that sailes with a side 
wind, and is borne with the tide to a wrong shore. If they 
meane to doe any goode in deede, bidde them follow Demos- 
thenes and joyne with Phocion ; when they have geven us good 
counsel in wordes, make muche of souldiers that are ready to 
execute the same with their swoordes. Bee not carelesse ; 
plough with weapons by your sides ; studie with a booke in 
one hand, a darte in the other ; enjoy peace with provision for 
warre ; when you have left the sandes behinde you, looke well 
to the rockes that lie before you ; let not the overcomming one 
tempest make you secure, but have an eye to the cloud that 
comes from the south, and threateneth ray no. The least over- 
sight in dangerous seas may cast you away : the least discon- 
tinuaunce of martiall exercise geve you the foyle. \VJicn 
Achilles loytered in his tent, geving care to miir-ickc, his 
souldiers were bidde to a hot breakefaste. Hannibals power 
received more hurte in one dayes ease at Capua, then in al ' 
conflicts they had at Cannas. It were not good for us to 
flatter our selves with these golden daycs : highe floodes ha\ 
lowe ebbes ; hotte fevers could rnnnne- : IniiLT daie- sl 


nightes, drie summers moyst winters. There was never fort 
so strong but it might be battered, never ground so fruitful 
but it might be barren, never countrie so populous but it might 
be wast, never monarch so mighty but lie might be weakened, 
never realme so large but it might be lessened, never kingdom 
so flourishing but it might be decayed. Scipio before he levied 
his force to the walles of Carthage gave his souldiers the print 
of the cittie in a cake to be devoured : our enimies, with 
Scipio, have already eaten us with bread, and licked up our 
blood in a cup of wine. They do but tarry the tyde, watch 
opportunitie, and wayt for the reckoning, that with the shot of 
our lives shoulde paye for all. But that God that neither 
slumbreth nor sleepeth for the love of Israel, that stretcheth 
out his armes from morning to evening to cover his children 
(as the hen cloth her chicken with the shadow of her wings) 
with the breath of his mouth shall overthrowe them, with their 
owne snares shall overtake them, and hang them up by the 
heare of their owne devises. 

Notwithstanding, it behoveth us in the mean 

season not to sticke in the myer, and gape for 
succour without using some ordinarye waye our selves ; or to 
lye wallowing like lubbers in the ship of the common wealth, 
crying Lord, Lord 1 when we see the vessell toyle, but joyntly 
lay our hands and heads and helpes together to avoide the 
danger, and save that which must be the surety of us all. For 
as to the body ther are many members serving to severall uses, 
the eye to see, the eare to heare, the nose to smell, the tongue 
to tast, the hand to touch, the feet to beare the whole burden 
of the rest, and every one dischargeth his duety without grudg- 
ing, so shoulde the whole body of the common wealth consist 
of fellow laborers, all generally serving one head, and particu- 
larly following their trade without repining. From the head 
to the foote, from top to the toe, there shoulde nothing be 
vaine, no body idle. Jupiter himself shall stand for example, 
who is ever in worke, still mooving and turning about the 


heavens : if he should pull his hand from the frame, it were 
impossible for the world to endure. All would be day, or al 
night ; al Spring or al Autume ; all Sommer or all Winter ; al 
heate or al could; al moysture or al drowght; no time to til, 
no time to sow; no time to plant, no time to reape ; the earth 
barren, the rivers stopt, the seas stayde, the seasons chaunged, 
and the whole course of nature overthrowne. The meane 
must labor to serve the mighty; the mighty must study to 
defend the meane. The subjects must sweat in obedience to 
their Prince ; the Prince must have a care over his poore 

If it be the duety of every man in a common wealth one 
way or other to bestirre his stoomps, I cannot but blame those 
lither contemplators very much, which sit concluding of sillo- 
gismes in a corner, which in a close studye in the Universitye 
coope themselves up xl yeres together, studying al things and 
professe nothing. The bell is knowen by his sounde, the birde 
by her voyce, the lion by his rore, the tree by the fruite, a man 
by his woorkes. To continue so long without mooving, to 
reade so much without teaching, what differeth it from a 
dumbe picture,, or a dead body? No man is born to seek 
private profit ; part for his countrie, parte for his freends, part 
for himselfe. The foole that comes into a faire garden likes 
the beawty of the flowers, and stickes them in his cap : the 
phisition considereth their nature, and puttes them in the pot : 
in the one they wither without profite ; in the other they serve 
to the health of the bodie. He that readeth good writers, and 
pickes out their flowers for his owne nose is like a foole : hee 
that preferreth their vertue before their sweet sinel is a good 
phisition. When Anacharsis travelled all over Greece to seeke 
out wise men, he found none in Athens, though no doubt there 
were many good schollers there; but comming t;> Cheims, a 
blind village in comparison of Athens, a 1'alrurkes Tune, he 
found one Miso, well governing his house, looking to his 
grounde, instructing his children, teaching his family, making 


of marriages among his acquayntance, exhorting his neigh- 
bours to love and friendeship, and preaching in life ; whom the 
philosopher, for his scarcitie of woordes, plenty of workes, ac- 
compted the onelye wiseman that ever he saw. 

I speak not this to preferre Botley before Oxeford, a cottage 
of clownes before a colledge of Muses, Pans pipe before Apollos 
harp ; but to shew you that poore Miso can reade you such a 
lecture of philosophic as Aristotle never dreamed on. You 
must not thruste your heades in a tubbe and say Bene vixit, 
gui ben latuit, hee hath lived well that hath loitred well. 
Standing streames geather filth ; flowing rivers are ever sweet. 
Come foorth with your sides, the harvest is greate, the laborers 
few : pul up the sluces, let out your springs, geve us drink of 
your water, light your torches and season us a little with the 
salt of your knowledge. Let Phoenix and Achilles, Demos- 
thenes and Phocion, Pericles and Cimon, Lselius and Scipio, 
Nigidius and Cicero, the word and the sword, be knitte 
together. Set your talents a worke ; lay not up your tresure 
for taking rust : teach early and late, in time and out of time ; 
sing with the swan to the last houre. Follow the dauncing 
chaplens of Gradivus Mars, which chaunte the prayses of 
their god with voyces, and tread out the time with their feet. 
Play the good captaynes : exhort your souldiers with your 
tongues to fight, and bring the first ladder to the wall your 
selves : sound like bels and shine like lariternes ; thunder in 
words and glister in workes 5 so shall you please God, profite 
your country, honor your prince, discharge your dueties, geve 
up a good accompt of your stewardship and leave no sinne 
untouched, no abuse unrebuked, no fault unpunished. 

Sundry are the abuses, as well of Universityes as other 

Caroers places, but they are such as neither become me to 

touch, nor every idle head to understand. The 

Thurines made a law that no common find fault should meddle 

with any abuse but adultery. Pythagoras bound all his 


schollers to five yeers silence, that assoone as ever i^g.ufli* of 
they crept from the shel, they might not aspire to Piwragoras. 
the house top. It is not good for every man to travell to 
Corinth, nor lawfull for all to talk what they list, or write 
what they please, least their tongs run before their wits, or 
their pennes make havock of their paper, and so wading too 
farre in other mens maners, whilst they fill their bookes with 
other mens faults, they make their volume no better then an 
apothecaries shop of pestilent drugges, a quackesalvers budget 
of filthy receites, and a huge chaos of fowle disorder. Cookes 
did never long more for great markets, nor fishers for large 
pondes, nor greedy dogs for store of game, nor soaring hawkes 
for plenty of foule, then carpers doe nowe for copye of abuses, 
that they might ever bee snarling, and have some flyes or other 
in the waye to snatche at. 

As I would that offences should not be hid for going un- 
punished, nor escape without scourge for il example, so I 
wishe that every rebuker should place a hatch before the doore, 
keepe his quill within compasse. He that holdes not himselfe 
contented with the light of the sunne, but liftes his eyes to 
measure the bignes, is made blinde : he that bites every weede 
to searche out his nature may lighte uppon poyson, and so kill 
himselfe : he that loves to be sifting of every cloude may be 
strooke with a thunderbolt, if it chance to rent, and hee that 
taketh uppon him to shewe men their faults may wound his owne 
credite, if he go too farre. We are not angry with the Clarke 
of the Market, if he come to our stall and reproove our bal- 
launce when they are faultie, or forfeit our weightes when they 
are false : nevertheles, if he presume to enter our house and 
rigge every corner, searching more then belongs to his olHce, 
we lay holde on his locks, turne him away witli his biu-ko full 
of stripes, and his handes loden with his own ainemles. There- 
fore, I will contente my selfe to shewe yen no more abuses in 
my Schoole, then myself have scene, nor so many by hundred.- 
as I have hearde off. Lyons, folde uppe there nailes when the\ 


are in their dennes, for wearing them in the earth and nede 
not : eagles draw in their tallants as they set in their nestes, 
for blunting them there among drosse ; and I will cast ancor 
in these abuses, reste my barke in this simple roade, for 
grating my wittes upon needlesse shelves. And because I 
accuse other for treading awry, which since I was borne never 
went right ; because I finde so many faults abroade, which 
have at home more spottes on my body then the leopard, more 
staines on my coate then the wicked Nessus, more holes in my 
life then the open sive, more sinnes in my soule then heares 
on my head, if I have beene tedious in my lecture, or you be 
weary of your lesson, harken no longer for the clock, shut upp 
the Schoole, and get you home. 



To the right honorable Sir Richard Pipe, Knight, 

Lord Maior of the Cittie of London, and 

the right worshipfull his brethren, 

continuance of health, and 

maintenance of civil 


Pericles was woont (right honorable and worshipful) as oft 
as he putte on his robes to prech thus unto himself: Consider 
wel, Pericles, what thou dost : thou commaundest free men ; 
the Greeks obey thee, and thou governest the citizens of 
Athens. If you say not so much to your selves, the gownes 
that you weare as the cognisances of authority, and the sword 
which is caried befor you as the instrument of justice, are of 
sufficient force to put you in mind, that you are the masters 
of free men, that you governe the worshipfull citizens of London, 
and that you are the verye Stewards of her Majestie within 
your liberties. 

Therefore, sith by my owne experience I have erected a 
Schoole of those abuses which I have seene in London, T pre- 
sume the more uppon your pardon, at the ende of my pamphlet 
to present a few lines to your honourable reading. 

Augustus, the good Emperour of Rome, was ne\vr angry 
\vith accusers, because hee thought it necessary (where many 
abuses florish) for every man freely to spoakc his mindo. 
And I hope that Augustus (I moane suche as are in authoritie) 
will beare with mee, because I touch that whiclir i- n.-i-di-fiill to 
be showen. Wherein I goe not about to instruct you how to 
rule, but to warne you what danger hangs over your heads, 
that you may avoyde it. 

The birde Trochilus with crashing of her bil awakes the 
crocodile, and delivercth her from her enemyes that are 
readye to charge her in dead sleepe. A little fishe swimmeth 


continually before the great whale to showe him the shelves, 
that he run not a grounde. The elephants, when any of their 
kinde are fallen into the pittes that are made to catch them, 
thrust in stones and earth to recover them. When the lyon 
is caught in a trappe. ^Esop's mouse, by nibling the cordes, sets 
him at libertie. It shall be inough for me with Trochilus to 
have wagged my bil ; with the little fish to have gone before 
you ; with the elephants to have showed you the way to helpe 
your selves ; and with yEsop's mouse to have fretted the snares 
with a byting tooth for your owne safetie. 

The Thracians, when they must passe over frosen streames, 
sende out their wolves, which, laying their eares to the yse, 
listen for noyse : if they heare any thing, they gather that it 
mooves : if it moove, it is not congealed ; if it be not congealed, 
it must be liquide : if it be liquide, then will it yeelde ; and if 
it yeelde, it is not good trusting it with the weight of their 
bodyes, leste they sinke. The worlde is so slipperie that you 
are often enforced to passe over yse : therefore, I humbly be- 
seech you to try farther and trust lesse : not your woolves, but 
many of your citizens have alredy sifted the danger of your 
passage, and in sifting been swallowed to their discredit. 

I would the abuses of my Schoole were as w r el knowne of 
you to reformation, as they are found out by other to their 
owne peril. But the fish Sepia can trouble the water to shun 
the nets that are shot to catch her : Torpedo hath crafte 
enough at the first touch to enchant the hooke, to conjure the 
line,, to bewitch the rod, and to benoom the hands of him that 
angleth. Whether our players be the spawnes of such fishes, 
I knowe not wel ; yet I am sure that how many nets soever 
there be laid to take them, or hooks to choke them, they have 
ynke in their bowels to darken the water, and sleights in their 
budge ttes to dry up the arme of every magistrate. If their 
letters of commendations were once stayed, it were easie for 
you to overthrow them. Agesilaus was greately rebuked, be- 
cause in matters of justice he enclined to his friends, and 


became parcial : Plutarch condemneth this kind of writing 
Niciam, si niliil admisit noxa, exime ; si quid admisit , milii 
exime ; omnino autem hominem noxoe exime. If Nicias have 
not offended, meddle not with him : if hee bee guyltie, forgyve 
him for my sake ; whatsoever you doe, I charge you acquite 
him. This enforceth magistrates, like evill poets, to breake 
the feete of theyr verse and sing out of tune, and with un- 
skilful carpenters to use the square and the compasse, the rule 
and the quadrant, not to build, but to overthrowe, 

Bona verba qiKcso. Some saye that it is not good jesting 
with edge tooles. The Athenians will mince Phocion as 
smal as fleshe to pot, if they be mad, but kil Demades if 
they be sober ; and I doubte not but the governours of Lon- 
don will vexe mee for speaking my minde, when they are out 
of their wittes, and banishe their players when they are best 

In the meane time it behooveth your Honour in your charge 
to playe the musition : stretch every string till hee breake, but 
set him in order. He that wil have the lampe to burne cleere, 
must as well poure in oyle to nourish the flame, as snuffe the 
weeke to increase the light. If your Honour desire to see the 
Citie well governed, you must as well set to your hand to 
thrust out abuses, as showe your selfe willing to have all 
amended. And (lest I seeme one of those idle mates, which 
having nothing to buy at home, and lesse to sell in the market 
abrode, stand at a boothe if it be but to gase, or wanting 
worke in mine owne study, and having no witte to <^>\vrne 
citties, yet busye my braynes witli your honourable oilice) I 
wil heere end, desiring pardon for my fault, because I am 
rashe, and redresse of abuses because they are nought. 

Your Honors &c. to commaunde 



To the Gentlewomen, Citizens 

of London, flourishing* 

dayes, with regarde 

of credite. 

The reverence that I owe you. Gentlewomen, because you 
are citizens, and the pitie wherwith I tender your case, be- 
cause you are weake, hath thrust out my hand, at the breaking 
up of my Schoole, to write a few lines to your sweete selves. 
Not that I thinke you to bee rebuked as idle huswives, but 
commended and incouraged as vertuous dames. The freest 
horse at the whiske of a wand gyrdes forward : the swiftest 
hound, when he is hallowed, strippes forth : the kindest mas- 
tife, when he is clapped on the backe, fighteth best : the 
stoutest souldier, when the trumpet sounds, strikes fiercest : 
the gallantest runner, when the people showte, getteth 
grounde, and the perfectest livers, when they are praysed, 
winne greatest credite. 

I have seene many of you whiche were wont to sporte your 
selves at Theaters, when you perceived the abuse of those 
places, schoole your selves, and of your owne accord abhorre 
playes. Arid sith you have begun to withdrawe your steppes, 
continew so still, if you bee chary of your good name ; for 
this is generall, that they which shew themselves openly desyre 
to be seene. It is not a softe shooe that healeth the gowte ; 
nor a golden ring that drive th away the crampe ; nor a crowne 
of pearle that cureth the meigrim ; nor your sober counte- 
nance that defendeth your credite ; nor your freindes which 
accompany your person that excuse your folly ; nor your mo- 
desty at home that covereth your lightnesse, if you present 
your selves in open Theaters. Thought is free : you can for- 
bydd no man that vieweth you to note you, and that noateth 
you to judge you for entring to places of suspition : wild 

coultes, when they see their kind, begine to bray, and lusty 


bloods at the shewe of faire women give a \vautone sigh or a 
wicked wishe. Biasing markes are most shot at ; glistring faces 
chiefly marked ; and what followeth ? Looking eies have lyking 
hartes ; lyking hartes may burne in lust. \Ve walke in the sun 
many times for pleasure, but our faces are tanned before wee 
returne : though you go to Theaters to see sport, Cupid may 
cache you ere you departe. The little god hovereth aboute 
you, and fanneth you with his wings to kindle fire : when you 
are set as fixed whites, Desire draweth his arrow to the head, 
and sticketh it uppe to the fethers, and Fancy bestireth him 
to shed his poyson through every vayne. If you doe but 
listen to the voyce of the fouler, or joyne lookes with an 
amorous gazer, you have already made your selves assault- 
able, and yeelded your cities to be sacked. A wanton eye is 
the darte of Cephalus : where it leveleth, there it lighteth, 
and where it hitts it woundeth deepe. If you give but a 
glaunce to your beholders, you have vayled the bonnet in 
token of obedience ; for the boulte is fallen ere the ayre clap, 
the bullet paste ere the peece cracke, the colde taken ere the 
body shiver, and the match made ere you strike handes. 

To avoyde this discommoditie Cyrus refused to looke upon 
Panthea, and Alexander the Great on Darius wife. The 
sicke man that relesheth nothing, when hee seeth some aboute 
him feede a pace, and commend the taste of those dishes 
which hee refused, blames not the meate, but his owne dis- 
ease; and I feare you will say that it is no rype judgement, 
but a rawe humor in my selfe, which makes me condemne the 
resorting to playes ; because there come many thyther which 
in your opinion sucke no poyson, but feede liartely without 
hurt ; therefore, I doe very ill to reject that which other like, 
and complayne stil of mine owne maladie. 

In deede, I must confesse, there comes to playes of al sortes, 
old and young : it is hard to saye that all offend, yet, I pro- 
mise you, I wil sweare for none; for the dryest flax flaiiu-t!- 
soonest, iuid the greenest wood smuketh nioste : gray heads 



have greene thoughts, and young slipps are old twigges. 
Beware of those places which in sorrowe cheere you, and be- 
guile you in mirth. You must not cut your bodyes to your 
garmentes, but make your gownes fit to the proportion of 
your bodies ; nor fashion yourselves to open spectacles, but tye 
all your sportes to the good disposition of a vertuous minde. 
At Diceplay every one wisheth to caste well : at bowles every 
one craves to kisse the maister : at running every one starteth 
to winne the goale : at shooting every one strives to hit the 
marke ; and will not you in all your pastimes and recreations 
seeke that which shall yeelde you most profite, and greatest 
credite ? I will not say you are made to toyle, and I dare 
not graunt that you should be idle ; but if there be peace in 
your houses, and plentie in your cofers, let the good precept 
of Xenophon be your exercise in all your ease and pro- 
speritie : remember God that hee may be mindfull of you 
when your hartes grone, and succore you still in the time of 
neede. Be ever busied in godly meditations : seeke not to 
passe over the gulf with a tottering plank that will deceive 
you. When we cast off our best clothes, we put on ragges : 
when our good desiers are once laide aside, wanton wil be- 
gines to pricke. Being pensive at home, if you go to Thea- 
ters to drive away fancies, it is as good phisicke as for the 
ache of your head to knocke out your brains, or when you 
are stung with a waspe to rub the sore with a nettle. When 
you are greeved, passe the time with your neighboures in 
sober conference, or if you canne reade, let bookes bee your 
comforte. Doe not imitate those foolishe patientes, which 
having sought all meanes of recovery and are never the 
neere, run unto witchcraft. If your greefe be such that you 
may not disclose it, and your sorrowe so great that you loth 
to utter it, looke for so salve at playes or Theaters, lest that 
laboring to shun Silla you light on Charibdis ; to forsake the 
depe, you perish in sands ; to warde a light stripe, you take a 
loathes wound, and to leave phisike you flee to inchaimting. 


You neede not goe abroade to bee tempted : you shall bee in- 
tised at your owne windowes. The best council that I can 
give you is to keepe at home, and shun all occasion of ill 
speech. The virgins of Vesta were shut up fast in stone 
walles to the same end. You must keepe your swivU 1 faces 
from scorching in the sun, chapping in the winde, and warp- 
ing in the weather, which is best perfourmcd by staying 
within ; and if you perceive your selves in any danger at your 
owne doores, either allured by curtesie in the day, or assaulted 
with musike in the night, close uppe your eyes, stoppe- your 
eares, tye up your tongues : when they spoake, answeare 
not; when they hallowe, stoope not; when they sigh, laugh 
at them ; when they sue, scorne them. Shunne their com- 
pany : never be seene where they resort ; so shall you neither 
get them proppes when they seeke to climbe, nor holde them 
the stirrope when they proffer to mount. 

These are harde lessons which I teache you : neverthelesse, 
drinke uppe the potion, though it like not your tast, and you 
shal be eased : resist not the surgeon, though hee strike with 
his knife, and you shall bee cured. The fig tree is sower, but 
it yeeldeth sweete fruite : thymus is bitter, but it givelh. 
honny : my Schoole is tarte, but my counsel! is pleasant, if 
you imbrace it. Shortly I hope to send out the discourses of 
my Phyalo, by whom (if I see you accept this) I will give you 
one dish for your own tooth. 

Fa iv \v el. 
Yours to serve at vertucs call, 

STKPJIAN (iossoN. 


Page 3, line 27. Homer's Iliades in a nutte shell.] A curious instance of 
the literal completion of such an undertaking has recently come to light, 
in a copy of Peele's "Tale of Troy," printed in 1604., in a minute volume 
about an inch and a half tall, by an inch broad. The text varies slightly 
from that of the edition of 1589, 4to; and the title-page of this literary cu- 
riosity runs thus : " The Tale of Troy. By G. Peele, M. of Artes in Ox- 
ford. Printed by A. H. 1604." The colophon is as follows: "London, 
Printed by Arnold Hatfield dwelling in Eliot's court in the Little old Baylie. 
And are to be sold by Nicholas Ling. 1604." It goes as far in the sig- 
natures as Q 6, in eights. 

Page 12, line 5. Drummes entertainment.} See note to " All's well that 
ends well." A. III. Sc. 6. Malone's Shakespeare by Boswell, x. 417. 

Page 19, line 1. Bringing sweet comfortes into Theaters,] Probably 
we ought to read " sweet consortes" in reference to the music introduced 
into play-houses. It stands comfortes in the original edit. 

Page 23, line 3. The shaking of the sheetes with Domitia.] The old 
copy reads, by a misprint, "which Domitia." 

Page 28, line 11. Sounded with lead.] Again, in the original, we have 
which printed for with. 

Page 29, line 15. Set downe the limits of apparel to every degree.] See 
in "the Egerton Papers," printed by the Camden Society, p. 247, one of 
Queen Elizabeth's Proclamations for this purpose printed at large. 

Page 30, line 4. The Jew.] Most likely a play on the same story as that 
of " the Merchant of Venice." 

Page 38, line 12. If our gallantes of Englande might carry no more 
linkes in their chaynes.] The custom of wearing gold chains by gentle- 
men, or by those who affected to be such, is often mentioned by later 
writers. The Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London continue to carry 
them ; and the practice, with the excuse of its being a watch-guard, has 
recently been revived. 

Page 46. Letters of commendations.] The allusion here is to the letters 
of protection, which noblemen were in the habit of granting to players 
who acted or travelled under their names, One of the earliest is that of 
Sir R. Dudley to Lord Shrewsbury, dated June, 1559, printed in the Hist, 
of Engl. Dram. Poetry and the Stage, i. 170. 

Page 51, line 28. Shortly I hope to send out the discourses of my 
Phyalo.] In the edition of 1587, Gosson calls the work "the Ephemerides 
of Phialo." It was printed with the same date as the earliest edition of 
the Schoole of Abuse, 1579, and contains a " short apology" for that work, 
which had been attacked in print in the interval between the publication 
>f the Schoole of Abuse, and the appearance of the Ephemerides of Phialo. 




























HALLIWELL, J. O. ESQ., F.R.S., F.S.A., &<\ 









IN the cursory sketch of the various publications for 
and against the Stage, between the years 1578 and 
1633, which precedes our reprint of Gosson's " School 
of Abuse," we had occasion to mention Thomas Hey- 
wood's "Apology for Actors." It is not only the most 
complete, but the latest regular defence of the profes- 
sion, prior to the closing of the theatres on the breaking 
out of the Civil War. There was a pause in the literary 
contest subsequent to the appearance of Dr. Rainolde's 
" Overthrow of Stage Plays," 1599, (some copies bear 
the date of " Middleburgh, 1600,") and the immediate 
motive for the publication of Hey wood's " Apology for 
Actors' in 1612 is not stated in the tract itself, nor 
elsewhere. Sir Edward Coke, indeed, in his " Charge 
at Norwich ' in 1607, (printed by N. Butter in that 
year) had complained of the manner and degree 1 in 
which "the country was troubled with stage-players/ 1 
and denounced them from the bench ; but his reference 
was to actors in the provinces, who had no "commis- 
sion' from the crown, nor license under the hands of 
any of the nobility; and it may bo averted that for 
some years before Heywood's "Apology 5 came out, 



the theatres of the metropolis had been flourishing and 
unmolested, and had enjoyed peculiar patronage from 
the crown, 

It was, possibly, this very state of affairs which in- 
duced Heywood to put forth his tract : the Puritans 
were silent, actors were prosperous, the court was 
favourable, and a general vindication of the profession 
of the Stage, as an excuse for the public and private 
encouragement it received, would not be unwelcome 
at such a juncture. 

We have it on his own evidence in his " Pleasant 
Dialogues and Dramas," 8vo., 1657, that Heywood 
was a native of Lincolnshire. In the succeeding tract 
he notices " the time of his residence at Cambridge," 
and William Cartwright, (of whom we shall speak 
hereafter, and who reprinted " The Apology for Actors" 
just before the Eestoration) asserts that Heywood was 
" a fellow of Peter House." This statement is pro- 
bably correct, and nearly all his extant works display 
like that before us, extensive general reading, and 
considerable classical attainments. In what year Hey- 
wood came to London we have no account ; but on the 
14th of October, 1596, a person, whose name Henslowe 
spells Hawode, had w r ritten " a book," or play, for the 
Lord Admiral's Company. On the 25th of March, 1598, 
we find Thomas Heywood regularly engaged by Hens- 
lowe as a player and a sharer in the company, but not 
as "a hireling," or mere theatrical servant receiving 
wages, as Malone mistakenly asserted. (Shakespeare 
by Boswell, III., 321). From this date, at all events, 
until the death of Queen Anne, the wife of James I., 


Hey wood continued on the stage ; for in the account of 
the persons who attended her funeral he is introduced 
as " one of her majesty's players." He wrote an ode 
upon her death, but he did not print it until five year- 
afterwards as part of a much larger volume. After 
quitting the Lord Admiral's Company, on the accession 
of James I., Hey wood became one of the theatrical ser- 
vants of the Earl of Worcester, and was by that noble- 
man transferred to the queen. " I was, my lord," 
(says Heywood in the dedication to the Earl of Wor- 
cester of his " Nine Books of various History concern- 
ing Women," fo. 1624) "your creature, and amongst 
other your servants, you bestowed me upon the ex- 
cellent princesse Q. Anne, * * * * but by her la- 
mented death your gift is returned againe into your 

Between 1596 and 1638, he was a most voluminous 
playwright. When he published his " English Tra- 
veller," in 1633, he stated in a preliminary epistle, that 
he had written the whole, or parts of no fewer than two 
hundred and twenty dramatic pieces ; of which, however, 
not more than twenty-three passed through tin* pre-<. 
In the address "to the judicial reader," prefixed to 
his "Apology for Actors," 1612, he observes, "my 
pen hath seldome appeared in the pn-sxe till now;" but 
this assertion must be taken with sonic qualification, 
and with reference, perhaps, to the many work- wliidi 
he had written, and which up to that year had not been 
printed. His earliest known work witli a date is his 
" Edward the Fourth," a play in two parts, which was 
originally published in 1600. In 160,5, another play 

\ 2 


by him, called " If you know not me, you know No- 
body, or the Troubles of Queen Elizabeth," was printed : 
the second part of the same piece came out in 1606. 
His " Fair Maid of the Exchange" and his " Woman 
killed with Kindness" appeared in 1607, and his " Eape 
of Lucrece" in 1608. These were dramatic works ; 
but in 1608 he put forth a translation of Salust, with 
a long and laboured preface " Of the choice of 
History ;" and in 1609 appeared a heroic poem in 
stanzas, under the title of " Great Britains Troy." His 
" Golden Age," a play, was printed the very year 
before his " Apology for Actors." Thus we see that 
his " pen had appeared in the press ' nine times before 
he wrote in 1612. 

In the same spirit of allowance we must, probably, 
receive another of Heywood's statements, in the course 
of the work now presented to the Members of the 
Shakespeare Society : we allude to what he says on 
page 16, that he is " the youngest and weakest of the 
nest wherein he was hatched." In 1612 he had been, 
at least, fourteen years on the stage, and must have 
been more than thirty years old. That there were 
many older, as well as better actors, then living, we 
need entertain no doubt ; arid these he must have 
had in his mind when be used the expression we have 
above quoted. 

No complete list has ever yet been formed of Hey- 
wood's different productions, dramatic and undramatic, 
in verse and in prose. Reed attempted it in the edi- 
tion of " Dodsley's Old Plays," printed in 1780, and 
made several blunders, such as attributing works by 


Munday, Chettle, and Drue, to him ; but much in- 
formation has, of late years, been procured from sources 
with which Reed was not acquainted. The Shake- 
speare Society is preparing* to print the most curious 
and valuable of these sources, " Henslowe's Diary," 
which relates to theatrical transactions in London for 
seventeen years subsequent to the spring of 1591. 
"When it is published it will be seen that Heywood 
was engaged upon several plays, regarding which we 
have no other information. Until then it would he 
useless to attempt any exact enumeration of the varied 
and interesting productions of his pen. For their rarity, 
perhaps, we may notice his " Marriage Triumph," 1613, 
on the union between the Prince Palatine and the Prin- 
cess Elizabeth ; and his " Elegy on the Death of James 
I., 1625. In the last he informs us that, at one time 
(the date is not given) he had been the theatrical ser- 
vant of the Earl of Southampton, the patron of Shake- 
speare. Heywood also wrote all the known pageants 
for Lord Mayor's Day, between 1630 and 1640, when 
they ceased for some years to be exhibited. 

We know nothing of the later incidents of his 
life beyond those furnished by the publication of 
his many works, the last, perhaps, being- " Tlie Lite 
of Ambrosias Merlin," which came out in 1611. In 
that year he is mentioned in some verses nisei !,-d in 
"Wit's Recreation V having reference principally to 
his "Hierarchy of the l>le-e<l Angels," which had 
appeared in 1635. When he published that collection 
of his minor pieces, called " Plea-ant Dialogues mid 
Dramas," in 1637, he wa> evidently in considerable 


pecuniary distress, and he seems to have sustained a 
long contest with poverty, not terminated until his de- 
cease. In 1648, in the " Satire against Separatists," 
he is spoken of as if he were still alive ; and this seems 
to be the last trace of him. If he died in that year, 
he just outlived the issue of the notorious " Ord- 
nance of the Lords and Commons assembled in Parlia- 
ment," for the entire suppression of theatrical amuse- 

William Cartwright's republication of Heywood's 
" Apology for Actors," shortly prior to the Restoration, 
has been already noticed, That republication has no 
date ; but the late Mr. Douce, whose evidence on such 
a point is generally to be taken as conclusive, in his 
" Illustrations of Shakespeare," I., p. 300, tells us that it 
was printed in 1658. Cartwright was at this period a 
bookseller; but he did not intend that Heywood's 
tract should appear to be a mere reprint r he therefore 
altered the title of it, and called it " The Actor's Vin- 
dication ;" and in the dedication to the Marquess of 
Dorchester, he states that the author had written it 
" not long before his death." The object was to give 
the work a more modern air, and greater weight of 
authority, than it would have possessed had Cartwright 
stated that it originally came out forty-six years before 
he revived it. For the same reason he modernized the 
style in several respects, gave only the initials of the 
" friends and fellows" of Hey wood, who in 1612 had 
signed their laudatory lines at length, and inserted a 
passage in praise of Edward Alleyn, and speaking of 
him as dead, which Hey wood could not have written 


in 1612, because the subject of the eulogium did not 
die until fourteen years afterwards. 

" Among so many dead," says Hey wood, "let me 
not forget one yet alive, in his time the most worthy, 
famous Maister Edward Alleyn ;" to which, in 1658, 
Cartwright, omitting " one yet alive," added as follows : 
" who, in his lifetime, erected a College at Dulwich 
for poor people, and for education of youth. When 
this College was finished, this famous man was so 
equally mingled with humility and charity, that lie be- 
came his own pensioner, humbly submitting himself to 
that proportion of diet and clothes which he had be- 
stowed on others, and afterwards was interred in the 
same College." The expression by Hey wood, in 1612, 
that Alleyn, " in his time," was " the most worthy," 
shews that he certainly had retired from the stage 
before that year. 

An actor, of the name of William Cartwright, be- 
longed, in 1613, to an Association of Players witli 
which Henslowe was connected ; and, as has been 
shown in the " Memoirs of Edward Alleyn," p. 153, 
he was often one of the guests of the Founder of Dul- 
wich College between the years 1617 and 1622. He 
was in all likelihood the father of the William Cart- 
wright who, just before dramatic performances were 
recommenced, but while the theatres were still closed, 
was a bookseller, but who had no doubt been an 
actor prior to the breaking out of the Civil War, and 
certainly was so for many years after the Restoration. 
Downes frequently introduces his name in his Hose/us 
s, 1708, as one of the Kind's Company, a*- 


sembled immediately on the return of Charles II. He 
was Corbachio in " Yolpone," Morose in " Epicoene," 
Mammon in " the Alchemist," Brabantio in " Othello," 
and Falstaff in the first part of " Henry the Fourth," 
besides filling many other parts in modern plays. He 
continued on the stage after the union of the King's 
and the Duke's Companies in 1682, and died in 1687, 
leaving his books, pictures, &c., to Dulwich College, 
where his father had been so often hospitably received, 
and of the benefits of which institution he must him- 
self have been a witness. 

At the time of his death two persons, named Francis 
and Jane Johnson, husband and wife, lived with Cart- 
wright as servants, and had done so for about seventeen 
years. They seem to have taken possession of all his 
personal property, including plate, pictures, books, and 
490 broad pieces of gold. Proceedings in Chancery 
were accordingly instituted against them bv the Master, 

~ U V 

Warden, Fellows, &c., of Dulwich College, about the 
year 1689, and Francis Johnson was thrown into prison, 
where he remained for two years. These facts, and 
some others of a singular nature, and quite new in the 
life of Cartwright, are contained in what forms the 
commencement of the answer of Francis and Jane 
Johnson to the bill filed by the College, preserved 
among the archives at Dulwich. The conclusion of the 
document is unfortunately lost, but that portion which 
remains seems to contain nearly all the particulars of 
the case, and Ave subjoin it as a curious relic relating to 
the biography of a very eminent performer, one of the 


last disciples in what may be termed the School of 

" The joint and several Answers of Francis Johnson and Jane 
his wife, Defendants to the Bill of Complaint of the Master, 
Warden, Fellows, six poor Brethren and six poor Sisters 
and twelve poor Scholars of Dulwich College, otherwise 
called the College of God's Gift, within the parish of Cam- 
berwell in the county of Surry, Complainants. 

" The said Defts and either of them, saving and reserving to each 
other all due benefit and advantage of exceptions to the incertainties 
and insufficiencies of the Complainants bill of complaint, for answer 
thereto, or so much thereof as concerns them or either of them to 
make answer unto, they answer and say as followeth And first this 
Deft Francis Johnson for his part saith that he cannot more fully or 
particularly make answer to any the matters or charges of the 
Comp ts bill laid to his charge, then within and by his former answer 
by him put in thereto is already set forth and expressed ; for he saith 
that he did not intermeddle with any part of the personal estate of 
William Cartwright deceased, in the bill named, otherwise then is 
hereinafter set forth in his this Defts wife's answer, she bcinc^ the 
only person generally entrusted by the said Mr. Cartwright to look 
after and take care of his concernes at home. And this Deft was 
employed as his servant to look after his affairs in their Ma tir * play- 
house and to receive his, the said M r Cartwri^ht's, allowance out of 
the profits of the said playhouse, he being one of the Players there, 
and to pay the same unto him, which he accordingly did for about 
the space of 17 years that he lived with him a? his servant, and was 
bv agreement to have had from his said Ma>ter an allowance of 15 

. o 

per Annum during the time he lived with him ; but saith there v. 
about 5 years arrears of the said allowance due to this Deft at the 
time of the decease of the said William Cartwright. And the sakl 
Jane Johnson for her part saith, that the said William Cartwright 
departed this life about the middle of December. MS", bein:: then 
possessed of divers goods, household stuff and other prr-onal estate, 
which he had in the house wherein he died >ituate in or near Lin- 
coins Inn Field.- in the Countv of Middx hereinafter mentioned. And 


farther saith that in or about the month of January then next, that 
the Sheriffs officers of the said County, by virtue of some authority, 
as they alleged, and by the directions of the Comp t8> as this Deft hath 
been credibly informed [did] seize and take away, not only most of 
the goods in the said house (save what is hereinafter mentioned) and 
carried them away and never returned the same, but also took and 
carried away divers goods and apparels of these Defts which are 
hereafter named, vizt. some new linen cloth, some part thereof being 
cut out for divers uses, both which, as well the cut as otherwise, 
they took away, being of the value of 5 and upwards, as also divers 
wearing apparel of her, this Deft and her said husband, worth about 
10 ; and did also take away two beds, a fine fleeced wool blanket 
and two large chests, together with a trunk and box both full of 
linen, as likewise a jack, fire irons, andyrons, tongs and fireshovel, 
as also a rosting iron, several joint stools, a large Indian bason and 
jug, with divers other things, and the which goods were never ap- 
praised by the said officers nor ever returned again to these Defts, 
nor to any other person or persons for their use, or any recompence or 
satisfaction for the same. And as to the goods of M r Cartwright 
which came to this Defts possession, and were by her disposed of, 
and which are all the goods of him and that he died possessed of 
that ever came to the custody of this Deft or her said husband to her 
knowledge or belief, or into the hands custody or power of any other 
person or persons for their or either of their use or uses, which are as 
followeth, viz two silver tankards, gilt, which she pawned for 4 a 
piece, and which were disposed of by the Pawnbroker, in regard the 
money lent thereupon, and the interest demanded, did amount, as the 
Pawnbroker pretended, to the intrinsic value of the said plate : one 
small amber box or cabinet which this Deft did pawn for 405. and 
believes it is not worth much more : six books of prints which she 
sold for 3 : six volumes of play books, which she sold for 205, : 
several small pictures which she sold for 155. : a Turkey carpet 
which she sold for about 13 or 145. : a pair of old decayed brass 
candlesticks and brass fire irons sold at 6s. 8d. And this Deft doth 
verily believe in her conscience, and is well assured that there was no 
other or further benefit made of the said goods in any manner of way 
whatsoever than before mentioned. And this Deft confesseth that 


there came to her hands and custody 490 broad pieces of the gold of 
the said M r Cartwright, out of which this Deft paid for the burying 
of the said M r Cartwright about the sum of 33 : paid for rent arrear 
owing by him 5 10s. : paid M r Austin the victualler for a score 
of beer and ale 4 12s. Qd. : paid to his milkwoman 1 19s. 3d. : 
paid for his score at the Tavern l 2s. Qd. or thereabouts : paid his 
washerwoman a guinea. And further this Deft saith that she and 
her said husband did constantly live with the said M r Cartwright as 
his servants for the space of 17 years and upwards, during all which 
time he did agree to allow unto this Defts said husband at the rate 
of 15 per ann. as is hereinbefore specified. And this Deft doth 
verily believe that there was 4 or 5 years arrears of wages due to her 
said husband at the time of the death of their said Master ; and like- 
wise saith that the said M r Cartwright did agree to give and allow 
unto her this Deft the sum of 10 per ann. for 12 of the 17 years, 
and to allow her 13 pounds for the last 5 years, in regard this Deft 
during the said 5 years undertook all the work of the house without 
an under servant, which before that time had been kept : but yet this 
Deft could never receive any money from him or other satisfaction 
for her said wages during all his life time ; and saith that her whole 
wages for the said 17 years was wholly unsatisfied to her at the time 
of M r Cartwright's death, and [he] did from time to time excuse the 
payment thereof, pretending that he would when he died leave all his 
estate to this Deft and her said husband, withall declaring that he 
kept nothing from this Deft, and that she had all or most of his estate 
in her hands and power, and what would she desire more of him, or 
words to that or the like purpose : and he by such insinuations and 
promises did from time to time keep off this Deft from receiving any 
part of her wages, notwithstanding she was a continual slave to him 
and seldom suffered to go abroad, for that whc-n he was at home' IK 
required the Deft to give him diligent and constant attendance there, 
being aged and often infirm, and when he was abroad he would not 
trust any person in his house besides this Deft, by reason of which 
confinement this Deft could not have time for near 1 7 years together 
to go to Church to serve God. By all which it is very manifest that 
this Deft had a very uncomfortable living during all her service with 
her said Master, whenas when she was prevailed with to come and 


live with him as his housekeeper, she was in a good way of living, 
using the trade of a button maker, by which she did make consider- 
able profit. And this Deft moreover saith that her said Master, to- 
wards part of satisfaction of the kindness intended her, this Deft, 
and her said husband for all the service and slavery aforesaid, 
did some time in his life time execute some deed in writing, where- 
by he did (as these Defts are advised) settle the sum of 16 
per ann., chargeable by way of annuity or rent charge out of some 
houses in or about the city of London, to be payable to this Deft 
and her said husband during their lives and the life of the longer 
liver of them ; and they did accordingly receive the said rent for 
some small time after the death of her said Master, and until about 
Midsummer 1689, at or about which time the Compl ts did (as this 
Deft is informed) obtain some order of this honourable Court whereby 
to restrain this Deft and her said husband from further receiving the 
said rent of 16 per Ann : but for what reason, and whether the said 
order be still in force or not, this Deft knoweth not. And matters 
thus standing, and there having been very hot prosecutions in this 
honourable Court and elsewhere against her and her said husband by 
the Compl ts , and they having caused him to be imprisoned did re- 
maine a prisoner for about the space of two years. And this Deft 
saith that a great number of the said broad pieces were expended in 
paying the debts aforesaid of her said Master, and in defending of 
the suite aforesaid, as also in maintaining her husband in prison 
during the time aforesaid and procuring his enlargement, and like- 
wise in maintaining these Defts with meat and drink and other ne- 
cessaries ever since the payment of the said annuity hath been kept 
from them, being about 4 years and an half since. And this Deft 
further likewise saith that some yeares since, she finding that all the 
said broad pieces (except 140) were by the means aforesaid spent and 
consumed, she did deposite the same in the hands of one M r Nicholas 
Archibold, her counsell, desiring that he would treat with the said 
Compl ts , and endeavour to persuade them (having consideration to 
these Defts payments, troubles and expenses aforesaid) to accept of 
the said 140 pieces in full satisfaction for all such part of the several 
estate of her said Master as came into these Defts hands, or used 
words to that purpose, and her said Counsell did upon reception of 


the said pieces promise so to do, but having once got possession 
thereof, he did still put this Deft off with some pretence or other, and 
so still neglected to proceed therein and did " [cetera di^itiit]. 

The precise result of tins suit in Chancery does not 
appear from any document we have been able to con- 
sult, but it is certain that Dulwich College obtained 
most of the books and pictures which had belonged to 
Cartwright : the latter have, we believe, been preserved, 
the most valuable being the portraits of Burbage, Field, 
Bond, Cartwright, and some others of the same class ; 
but the books, consisting mainly of old plays (such 
probably as the six volumes mentioned in the preceding 
Answer, which Mrs. Johnson sold for 20-v.) have almost 
entirely disappeared. The late Mr. Malone was lucky 
enough to induce the Master, Warden, and Fellows 
to exchange the old Plays for old Sermons, and the 
old Plavs now form the bulk of the Commentator's col- 


lection at Oxford. One of the books left by Cartwright 
to the College, and still preserved in the library, is a 
copy of his republication of Hey wood's " Apology for 

Among other remarkable points adverted to in that 
work is one which has of late attracted considerable 
attention, in consequence chiefly of a very interesting 
and ingenious letter from Mr. AV. J. Thonis to Mr. 
Amyot, the Treasurer of the Society of Antiquaries, 
published in the New Monthly Magazine for January, 
1841. Professor Tieck, of Dresden, liiM started the 
notion that a company of KuirlMi Players, having found 
their way into G!erniany, performed Mnglish plays in 
different towns, which never were printed excepting in 


German versions. Heywood's " Apology for Actors" 
puts the matter beyond doubt, that several companies 
of performers from this country were retained on the 
continent, under royal and noble patronage, late in the 
sixteenth, and early in the seventeenth centuries. It 
is not necessary here to enter into particulars, because 
they will be found inserted hereafter. We only allude 
to them as a singular confirmation of a modern theory ; 
and Mr. Thorns has undertaken to furnish the Shake- 
speare Society with translations of four German Dra- 
mas, taken, as he supposes, from old English plays not 
now known to exist, but which Shakespeare employed 
more or less in the composition of some of his works. 

We have evidence that Heywood was for many years 
engaged upon a collection of the Lives of Poets of his 
own day and country, as well as of other times and na- 
tions. It would of course have included Shakespeare, 
and his dramatic predecessors and contemporaries; and 
it is possible that the MS., or part of it, may yet lurk 
in some unexplored receptacle. Eichard Brathwayte, 
in his " Scholars' Medley," 1614, gave the earliest in- 
formation of Heywood's intention to make " a descrip- 
tion of all Poets' lives;" and, ten years afterwards, in 
his " Nine Books of various History concerning Wo- 
men," Heywood himself tells us that the title of his 
projected work would be " The Lives of all the Poets, 
modern and foreign." It was still in progress in 1635, 
when " the Hierarchy of the Blessed Angels" came 
out, on p. 245 of which work we meet with the fol- 
lowing passage : " In proceeding farther I might have 
forestalled a work, which hereafter (I hope) by God's 


assistance to commit to the public view ; namely, the 
Lives of all the Poets, foreign and modern, from the 
first before Homer, to the novissiwi and last, of what 
nation or language soever." 

The manner in which he would probably have treated 
the subject makes us still more regret the loss of hi> 
collection of the Lives of the Poets ; and we may judge 
of that manner from the terms in which he speaks of 
his great contemporaries in the body of the work JIM 
quoted, p. 206. What he says of them affords a curi- 
ous proof of the kindly and familiar footing on which 
they lived with each other, and, as the passage is little 
known, we shall venture to quote the whole of it. 

" Greene, who had in both Academies ta'ne 

Degree of Master, yet could never gaine 

To be call'd more than Robin who, had he 

Profest aught save the Muse, serv'd and been free 

After a seven-yeares' prenticeship, might have 

(With credit too) gone Robert to his grave. 

Mario, renowned for his rare art and wit, 

Could ne're attaine beyond the name of Kit, 

Although his Hero and Leander did 

Merit addition rather. Famous Kid 

Was called but Tom. Tom Watson, though he wrote 

Able to make Apollo's selfe to dote 

Upon his Muse, for all that he could strive, 

Yet never could to his full name arrive. 

Tom Nash (in his time of no small esteemc) 

Could not a second syllable redcemr. 

Excellent Bewmont, in the foremost ranko 

Of the rar'st wits, was never more th;m l*nnn-k. 

Mellifluous Shakespeare, whose inchant in^ (juill 

Commanded mirth or passion, was but Will ; 


And famous Johnson, though his learned pen 

Be dipt in Castaly, is still but Ben. 

Fletcher add Webster, of that learned packe 

None of the mean'st, yet neither was but Jacke. 

Dekker's but Tom ; nor May nor Middleton ; 

And hee's now but Jacke Foord that once was John." 

We can figure to ourselves no higher prize, of a lite- 
rary kind, than the discovery of the MS. of the lives of 
such men by such a man, who would probably have 
given us their great characteristics and individual 
peculiarities, and have dwelt with fond detail upon the 
scenes of their early and social intercourse. Let us 
hope that the labours and researches of the Shakespeare 
Society, and of those who are anxious to promote its 
objects, may hereafter bring some such materials to 




Containing three briefe 


1 . Their Antiquity. 

2. Their ancient Dignity. 

3. The true use of their Quality. 

Written by Thomas Hey wood. 

Et prodesse sotent ef delect are- 


Printed by Nic/iolr/s Okcs. 

To the Right Honourable Edward, Earle of 

Worcester, Lord of Chepstoll, Ragland, and 

Gower, Knight of the most Noble Order 

of the Garter, Maister of the Horse, 

and one of the King's most 


Honourable Privy 

KNOWING all the vertues and endowments of nobility, 
which florisht in their height of eminence in your Ancestors, 
now, as by a divine legacy and lineall inheritance, to survive 
in you, and so consequently from you to your truly ennobled 
issue (Right Honourable), I presumed to publish this unwor- 
thy worke under your gracious patronage. First, as an ac- 
knowledgement of that duty I am bound to you in as a 
servant : next, assured that your most judicial! censure is as 
able to approve what therein is authentike and good, as your 
noble and accustomed modesty will charitably connive, if 
there be any thing therein unworthy your learned approba- 
tion. I have striv'd (my Lord) to make good a subject, which 
many through envy, but most through ignorance, have sought 
violently (and beyond merit) to opptigne ; in which, if lh'-\ 
have either wandred through spleone, or mvd by non-know- 
ledge, I have (to my power) plainly and freely illustrated ; 
propounding a true, direct, and faithful! discourse, touching 
the antiquity, the ancient dignity, and the true use of Actors, 
and their quality. If my industry herein be by the common 
adversary harshly received, but by your Honour charitably 
censured, I have from the injuditlOUfl (whom I osttvmc not.) 
but what I expect, but from your Lordship (whom I 61 
reverence) more then I can merit. 

Your Honour''? humbly devoted, 


B 's! 

To my good Friends and Feliowes 
the Citty-Aciors. 

OUT of my busiest houres I have spared my selfe so much 
time, as to touch some particulars concerning us, to approve 
our antiquity, ancient dignity, and the true use of our quality. 
That it hath beene ancient, we have derived it from more then 
two thousand yeeres agoe successively to this age. That it 
hath beene esteemed by the best and greatest, to omit all the 
noble patrons of the former world, I need alledge no more 
then the royall and princely services in which we now live. 
That the use thereof is authentique, I have done my endea- 
vour to instance by history, and approve by authority. To 
excuse my ignorance in affecting no florish of eloquence to 
set a glosse upon my Treatise, I have nothing to say for my 
selfe but this: a good face needs no painting, and a good 
cause no abetting. Some over- curious have too liberally 
taxed us ; and hee (in my thoughts) is held worthy reproofe, 
whose ignorance cannot answere for it selfe : I hold it more 
honest for the guiltlesse to excuse, then the envious to ex- 
claime; and we may as freely (out of our plainnesse) an- 
swere, as they (out of their perverseness) object, instancing 
my selfe by famous Scaliger, learned Doctor Gager, Doctor 
Gentiles, and others, whose opinions and approved arguments 
on our part I have in my briefe discourse altogether omitted, 
because I am loath to bee taxed in borrowing from others ; 
and besides, their workes, being extant to the world, offer 
themselves freely to every man's perusall. I am profest ad- 
versary to none : I rather covet reconcilement then opposition, 
nor proceedes this my labour from any envy in me, but rather 
to shew them wherein they erre. So, wishing you judiciall 
audiences, honest poets, and true gatherers, I commit you all 

to the fulnesse of your best wishes. 

Your's ever, 

T. H. 


I HAVE undertooke a subject (curteous reader) not of suffi- 
cient countenance to bolster it selfe by his owne strength, and 
therefore have charitably reached it my hand to support it 
against any succeeding adversary. I could willingly have 
committed this worke to some more able then my selfe, for the 
weaker the combatant, hee needeth the stronger armes ; but 
in extremities I hold it better to vveare rusty armour then to 
goe naked : yet if these weake habiliments of warre can but 
buckler it from part of the rude buffets of our adversaries, I 
shall hold my paines sufficiently guerdoned. My pen hath 
seldome appeared in presse till now : I have beene ever too 
jealous of mine owne \veaknesse willingly to thrust into the 
presse ; nor had I at this time, but that a kind of necessity 
enjoynedme to so sudden a businesse. I will neither shew my 
selfe over presumtuous in skorning thy favour, nor too im- 
portunate a beggar by too servilly intreating it. What thou 
art content to bestow upon my pains, I am content to accept : 
if good thoughts, they are all I desire : if good words, they 
are more then I deserve : if bud opinion, I am sorry I have 
incurM it: if evil language, I know not how I have merited 
it : if any thing, I am pleased : if nothing, I am satisfied, con- 
tenting my selfe with this 1 have dune no more then (had I 
beene called to account) shewed what 1 could say in the de- 
fence of my owne quality. 



Flrma valcnt per se, nnUtniujHf Muchuoim tji/ ( />ni?i/. 



ATToXoyia rail/ TravrjyvpcoV' 

TOVTO /3pOTOU7t p-eXfl pOVCTtoV TT^plKaXXea VflVCLV 

Kat AfXea Kai ' operas ; epa/iat /ze'ya ; roz> yap aXtrp&v 
Evpe Qfos ; <pi\u<bv /zeXoy dvdp&Troio-t Trovrjpov 
<&evy, /jLidels r&v Kco/ja KO.K&V' 

vTToOrjKrjv ', ft^re KaX' epya 
ei ; Kai opas, ort (pavXos 

BdXXero, at TrapaTroXXero d'eV /ieyaXoio-i Bfdrpois' 
*AXX' aya&ov aiel dvvdfifis KaXcai (pepeoirrat. 
El (friXfys povaras, <pi\eetv del evpa Otarpa, 
Atcr^pa SiffiKa)!/' Kaipov KOI <piXoy avSp* diro\e(r(rr]S, 

AX, Up'. 

/^ laudem, nee Opens, nee Authoris. 

Pallor f an h<zc soils non solum grata Theatris f 
fEsse putes soils quanquam dlctata Theatris) 
Magna sed a sacro venlet tlbl gratia Templo, 
Parve Liber ; proles liaut wfitianda parentl. 
Plurlmus hunc nactus llbrum de-plebe- Sacerdos 
(Copia verborum cm sit, non copla rerum) 
Materlce tantum petet hlnc ; quantum nee In uno 
Promere mense potest, nee In unoforsltan anno. 
Da quemuls textum ; balbd de nare locutus, 
Protlnus exclamat (nefanda placula!) In urbe 
(Proh dolor !) Impletas nudatd front e vagatur ! 
Ecce llbrum (Fratres) damnando authore poetd : 
Pejorem nee sol vidit, nee Vorstlus Ipse 
Hcereslarcha valet componere : Quippe Theatri 
Mentltas loquitur laudes (6 tempora), laudet 
Idem slpotls est, monachum, monachlne cucullum. 
Sacro quls laudes unquam nomenve Theatri 
Repperlt In CANONE ? haud vllus. stolldlsslme, dogma 
Non CA.NONEM sapit hoc Igltur, sed Apocryphon. Inde 
(Lymphatum attonlio pectus tundente popello, 
Et vacuum quassante caput m&stumque tuentl) 
Sic multo rauctlm crocltans sudore per or at ; 


Quod non dant proceres dcdit hist?*io : ncmpe benignant 
Materiam declamandi, plebemque docendi. 
Quis tamen hie mystes trayico qui fultnina ab ore 
Torquet ? Num doctus f Certc. Num metra Catonis 
Quatuor edidicit, tolidem quoque comma t a TulU. 
Jejunamque catecliesin pistoribus <vqm 
Sartoribusque piis scripsit. Liber utilis his, qui 
Baptistam simulant vultu, Floralia vivunt : 
Queisque supercilio brevior coma. Sed venerandos 
Graios hie Latiosque patres exosus ad unum est ; 
Et Canon es damnansfit Apocryphus. Uritur inttls. 
Laudibus ACTORIS midtiim mordetur. Ab illo 

Laude sua fraudatur enim. Quis nescit ? Ini- 

, (et)ffypocrita 

quum st proprie per- 

Prater se scripto laudetur (a] Hypocrita quisquam. sonaium his- 

trionem de- 

Fallor ? an hcec solis non soliim grata Theatris ? notat. 

Anonymus, sire, 
pessimus omnium Pocta. 

To them that are opposite to this worke. 

Cease your detracting tongues, contest no more, 
Leave off for shame to wound the Actor's fame, 
Seeke rather their wronged credit to restore ; 
Your envy and detractions quite disclaime. 

You that have termed their sports lascivious, vile, 
Wishing good princes would them all exile. 
See here this question to the full disputed ; 
Heywood hath you, and all your proofes confuted. 

Wouldst see an cmperour and his counsell gravo, 
A noble souldier acted to the life, 
A Romane tyrant, how he doth behave 
Himselfe at home, abroad, in peace, in strife ? 


Wouldst see what's love, what's hate, what's foule excesse, 
Or wouldst a traytor in his kind expresse ? 
Our Stagerites can (by the poet's pen) 
Appeare to you to bee the selfe same men. 

What though a sort for spight, or want of wit, 

Hate what the best allow, the most forbeare, 

What exercise can you desire more fit 

Than stately stratagemes to see and heare ? 
What profit many may attaine by playes, 
To the most critticke eye this booke displaies y id p ao . e ^ 
Brave men, brave acts, being bravely acted too, 
Makes, as men see things done, desire to do. 

And did it nothing, but in pleasing sort 
Keepe gallants from mispending of their time, 
It might suffice ; yet here is nobler sport, 
Acts well contriv'd, good prose, and stately rime. 

To call to church Campanus bels did make ; 

Playes dice and drinke invite men to forsake : 

Their use being good, then use the Actors well, 

Since our's all other nation's farre excell. 


To his beloved friend, Maister 

Sume superbiam qucesitam mentis. 

I cannot, though you write in your owne cause, 
Say you deale partially \ but must confesse, 

(What most men wil) you merit due applause, 
So worthily your worke becomes the presse. 


And well our Actors may approve your paines, 

For you give them authority to play, 
Even whilst the hottest plague of envy raignes 

Nor for this warrant shall they dearly pay. 

What a full state of poets have you cited 

To judge your cause ; and to our equal view 

Faire monumentall theaters recited. 

Whose ruines had bene ruin'd but for you ! 

Such men, who can in tune both raile and sing, 
Shall, viewing this, either confesse 'tis good, 

Or let their ignorance condemn the spring, 
Because 'tis merry, and renewes our bloud. 

Be, therefore, your owne iudgement your defence, 
Which shall approve you better then my praise, 

Whilst I, in right of sacred innocence, 

Durst ore each guilded tombe this knowne truth raise : 

Who dead would not be acted by their will, 

It seemes such men have acted their lives ill. 

By your friend, 


To my loving friend and fellow, 

Thou that do'st raile at me for seeing a play, 
How wouldst thou have me spend my idle houres ? 
Wouldst have me in a taverne drinke all day, 
Melt in the sunne's heate, or walke out in showers ? 


Gape at the Lottery from morne till even. 

To heare whose mottoes blankes have, and who prises ? 

To hazzard all at dice (chance six or seven) 

To card or bowle? my humour this dispises. 

But thou wilt answer : None of these I need, 
Yet my tir'd spirits must have recreation. 
What shall I doe that may retirement breed. 
Or how refresh my selfe, and in what fashion ? 

To drabbe, to game, to drinke, all these I hate : 

Many enormous things depend on these. 

My faculties truely to recreate 

With modest mirth, and my selfe best to please. 

Give me a play, that no distaste can breed. 
Prove thou a spider, and from flowers sucke gall ; 
I'le, like a bee, take hony from a weed ; 
For I was never puritannicall. 

I love no publicke soothers, private scorners, 
That raile 'gainst letchery, yet love a harlot : 
When I drinke, 'tis in sight, and not in corners ; 
I am no open saint, and secret varlet. 

Still, when I come to playes, I love to sit 
That all may see me in a publike place, 
Even in the stages front, and not to git 
Into a nooke, and hood-winke there my face. 

This is the difference : such would have men deeme 
Them what they are not ; I am what I seeme. 



To my good friend and fellow, 

Let others taske things honest, and to please 
Some that pretend more strictnesse then the rest, 
Exclaime on playes, know I am none of these 
That in-ly love what out-iy I detest. 
Of all the modern pastimes I can finde 
To content me, of plaj T es I make best use, 
As most agreeing with a generous minde : 
There see I vertues crowne, and sinnes abuse. 

Two houres well spent, and all their pastimes done, 
What's good I follow, and what's bad I shun. 


To my good friend and fellow, 

Have I not knowne a man, that to be hyr'd 

Would not for any treasure see a play, 

Reele from a taverne ? Shall this be admir'd, 

When as another, but the t'other day, 
That held to weare a surplesse most unmeet, 
Yet after stood at Paul's-crosse in a sheet. 


To my approved good friend 

Of thee, and thy Apology for playes, 
I will not much speake in contempt or praise ; 
Yet in these following lines Tie shew my minde 
Of playes, and such as have 'gainst playes repin'd. 


A play's a briefe epitome of time, 

Where man my see his vertue or his crime 

Lay'd open, either to their vice's shame, 

Or to their vertues' memorable fame. 

A play's a true transparant christall mirror, 

To shew good minds their mirth, the bad their terror : 

Where stabbing, drabbing, dicing, drinking, swearing, 

Are all proclaim'd unto the sight and hearing, 

In ugly shapes of heaven-abhorrid sinne, 

Where men may see the mire they wallow in. 

And well I know it makes the divell rage, 

To see his servants flouted on a stage. 

A whore, a thiefe, a pander, or a bawd, 

A broker, or a slave that lives by fraud ; 

An usurer, whose soule is in his chest, 

Until in hell it comes to restlesse rest ; 

A fly-blowne gull, that faine would be a gallant ; 

A raggamuffin that hath spent his tallant ; 

A self-wise foole, that sees his wits out~stript, 

Or any vice that feeles it selfe but nipt, 

Either in Tragedy or Comedy, 

In Morall, Pastorall, or History, 

But straight the poyson of their envious tongues, 

Breakes out in vollyes of calumnious wronges, 

And then a tinker, or a dray-man sweares, 

I would the house were fir'd about their eares. 

Thus when a play nips Sathan by the nose, 

Streight all his vassals are the actor's foes. 

But feare not, man, let envy swell and burst, 

Proceed, and let the divell do his worst ; 

For playes are good, or bad, as they are us'd, 

And best inventions often are abused. 

Your's ever, 



The Author to his Booke. 

The world's a theater, the earth a sta^e, 

So compared 

Which God and nature doth with actors fill : b 

Kings have their entrance in due equipage, 

And some there parts play well, and others ill. 

The best no better are (in this theater), 

Where every humor's fitted in his kinde ; 

This a true subiect acts, and that a traytor, 

The first applauded, and the last confined ; 

This plaies an honest man, and that a knave, 

A gentle person this, and he a clowne, 

One man is ragged, and another brave : 

All men have parts, and each man acts his owne. 

She a chaste lady acteth all her life ; 

A wanton curtezan another playes ; 

This covets marriage love, that nuptial strife ; 

Both in continual action spend their dayes : 

Some citizens, some soldiers, borne to adventer, 

Sheepheards, and sea-men. Then our play's begun 

\Vhen we are borne, and to the world first enter, 

And all finde exits when their parts are done. 

If then the world a theater present, 

As by the roundnesse it appears most fit, 

Built with starre galleries of bye ascent, 

In which Jehove doth as spectator sit, 

And chiefe determiner to applaud the best, 

And their indevours crowne with more then merit ; 

But by their evill actions doomes the rest 

To end disgrac't, whilst others praise inherit ; 

He that denyes then theaters should be, \ v -, i ,],, ..,,,.,. 

He may as well deny a world to me. 11() "'rl<l. 



Actors ; and first touching 

their Antiquity. 

Mooved by the sundry exclamations of many seditious 
sectists in this age, who, in the fatnes and ranknes of a 
peacable common-wealth, grow up like unsavery tufts of 
grasse, which, though outwardly greene and fresh to the eye, 
yet are they both unpleasant and unprofitable, beeing too 
sower for food, and too ranke for fodder ; these men, like the 
ancient Germans, affecting no fashion but their owne, would 
draw other nations to bee slovens like them-selves, and, under- 
taking to purifie and reforme the sacred bodies of the church 
and common-weale (in the trew use of both which they are 
altogether ignorant), would but like artlesse phisitions, for ex- 
periment sake, rather minister pils to poyson the whole body, 
then cordials to preserve any, or the least part. Amongst many 
other thinges tollerated in this peaceable and florishing state, 
it hath pleased the high and mighty princes of this land to 
limit the use of certain publicke theaters, which, since many 
of these over-curious heads have lavishly and violently slan- 
dered, I hold it not amisse to lay open some few antiquities to 
approve the true use of them, with arguments (not of the least 
moment) which, according to the weaknes of my spirit and 
infancy of my Judgment, I will (by God's grace) commit to the 
eyes of all favorable and iudiciall readers, as well to satisfie the 
requests of some of our well qualified favorers, as to stop tin* 
envious acclamations of those who chalenge to themselves a 
priveledgefd] invective, and against all free estates a railing 


liberty. Loath am I (I protest), being the youngest and 
weakest of the nest wherin I was hatcht, to soare this pitch 
before others of the same brood, more fledge, and of better 
winge then my selfe ; but though they whome more especially 
this taske concernes, both for their ability in writing and suffi- 
ciency in judgement (as their workes generally witnesse to the 
world) are content to over-slip so necessary a subject, and 
have left it as to mee, the most unworthy, I thought it better 
to stammer out my mind, then not to speake at all ; to scrible 
downe a marke in the stead of writing a name, and to stumble 
on the way, rather then to stand still and not to proceede on so 
necessary a journey. 

Nox erat, et somnus lassos submisit ocellos. It was about 
that time of the night when darknes had already over- 
spread the world, and a husht and generall sylence possest 
the face of the earth, and men's bodyes, tyred with the busi- 
nesse of the daye, betaking themselves to their best repose, 
their never- sleeping soules labored in uncoth dreames and 
visions, when suddenly appeared to me the tragicke Muse, 

- animosa Tragcedia : 

et movit pictis immixa cothurnis 

Densum cesarie terque quaierque caput. 

Her hey re rudely disheveled, her chaplet withered, her visage 
with teares stayned, her brow furrowed, her eyes dejected, nay, 
her whole complexion quite faded and altered ; and, perusing 
her habit, I might behold the colour of her fresh roabe all 
crimson breathed, and with the envenomed juice of some pro- 
fane spilt inke in every place stained ; nay more, her busken 
of all the wonted jewels and ornaments utterly despoyled, 
about which, in manner of a garter, I might behold these let* 
ters, written in a playne and large character : 

Behold my tragicke buskin rent and torne, 

Which kings and emperors in their tymes have worne. 


This I no sooner had perused, but suddenly I might per- 
ceave the inraged Muse cast up her skornfull head : her eye- 
bals sparkle fire, and a suddain dash of disdaine, interniixt 
with rage, purples her cheeke. When, pacing with a maies- 
ticke gate, and rowsing up her fresh spirits with a lively and 
queint action, shee began in these or the like words. 

Grande sonant tragici, trayicos decet ira cothurnos. 

Am I Melpomene, the buskend Muse, 
That held in awe the tyrants of the world, 
And playde their lives in publicke theaters, 
Making them feare to sinne, since fearelesse I 
Prepar'd to write their lives in crimson hike, 
And act their shames in eye of all the world ? 
Have not I whipt Vice with a scourge of steele, 
Unmaskt sterne Murther, sham'd lascivious Lust, 
Pluckt off the visar from grimme Treason's face, 
And made the sunne point at their ugly sinnes ? 
Hath not this powerful hand tam'd fiery Rage, 
Kild poysonous Envy with her owne keene darts, 
Choak't up the covetous mouth with moulten gold, 
Burst the vast wornbe of eating Gluttony, 
And drown'd the Drunkard's gall in juice of grapes ? 
I have showed Pryde his picture on a stage, 
Layde ope the ugly shapes his steele-glasse hid, 
And made him passe thence meekely. In those daies 
When emperours with their presence grac^t my sceanes, 
And thought none worthy to present themselves 
Save emperours, to delight embassadours, 
Then did this garland florish, then my roabe 
W r as of the deepest crimson, the best dye : 

Cura ducumf iterant olim regumque poet<B 9 

Pramiaque antiqui mayna tulere c/iori. 

Who lodge then in the bosome of great kings, 
Save he that had a grave cothurnate Muse ? 



A stately verse in an lambick stile 

Became a Kesar's mouth. Oh ! these were times 

Fit for you bards to vent your golden rymes. 

Then did I tread on arras ; cloth of tissue 

Hung round the fore-front of my stage ; the pillers 

That did support the roofe of my large frame 

Double appareld in pure Ophir gold, 

Whilst the round circle of my spacious orbe 

Was throng'd with princes, dukes, and senators. 

Nunc hedarcc sine honor ejacent. 

But now's the iron age, and black-mouth'd curres 

Barke at the vertues of the former world. 

Such with their breath have blasted my fresh roabe, 

Pluckt at my flowry chaplet, towsed my tresses ; 

Nay, some who, for their basenesse hist and skornM, 

The stage, as loathsome, hath long-since spued out, 

Have watcht their time to cast invenomM inke 

To stayne my garments with. Oh ! Seneca, 

Thou tragicke poet, hadst thou liv'd to see 

This outrage done to sad Melpomene, 

With such sharpe lynes thou wouldst revenge my blot, 

As armed Ovid against Ibis wrot. 

With that in rage shee left the place, and I my dreame, for 
at the instant I awaked ; when, having perused this vision over 
and over againe in my remembrance, I suddenly bethought 
mee, how many ancient poets, tragicke and comicke, dying 
many ages agoe, live still amongst us in their works : as, 
amongst the Greekes, Euripides, Menander, Sophocles, Eu- 
polis, ^Eschylus, Aristophanes, Apollodorus, Anaxandrides, 
Nicomachus, Alexis, Tereus, and others ; so, among the 
Latins, Attilius, Actius, Melithus, Plautus, Terens, and others, 
whome for brevity sake I omit. 

Hos ediscit, et Jios arcto stipata theatro 

Spectat Roma polens ; habet hos, numeratque poiitas. 


These potent Rome acquires and holdeth deare, 
And in their round theaters flocks to heare. 
These, or any of these, had they lived in the afternoone of the 
world, as they dyed even in the morning, I assure my selfe 
would have left more memorable tropheys of that learned 
Muse, whome, in their golden numbers, they so richly adorned. 
And, amongst our moderne poets, who have bene industrious 
in many an elaborate and ingenious poem, even they whose 
pennes have had the greatest trafficke with the stage, have 
bene in the excuse of these Muses most forgetfull. But, 
leaving these, lest I make too large a head to a small body, 
and so mishape my subject, I will begin with the antiquity of 
acting comedies, tragedies, and hystories. And first in the 
golden world. 

In the first of the Olimpiads, amongst many other active 
exercises in which Hercules ever triumph'd as victor, there was 
in his nonage presented unto him by his tutor, in the fashion 
of a history acted by the choyse of the nobility of Greece, the 
worthy and memorable acts of his father Jupiter : which 
being personated with lively and well spirited action, wrought 
such impression in his noble thoughts, that in meere emulation 
of his father's valor (not at the behest of his stepdame Juno), 
he perform'd his twelve labours. Him valiant Theseus fol- 
lowed, and Achilles Theseus ; which bred in them such 
hawty and magnanimous attempts, that every succeeding age 
hath recorded their worths unto fresh admiration. Aristotle, 
that prince of philosophers, whose bookes carry such credit 
even in these our universities, that to say ipsc dlxit is a suffi- 
cient axioma, hee, having the tuition of young Alexander, 
caused the destruction of Troy to be acted before his pupill ; in 
which the valor of Achilles was so naturally exprest, that it 
imprest the hart of Alexander, in so much that all his succeed- 
ing actions were meerly shaped after that pattcrne ; audit 
may be imagined that, had Achilles never lived, Alexander 
had never conquered the whole world. The like assertion may 

c 2 


be made of that ever- renowned Roman, Julius Caesar, who, 
after the like representation of Alexander in the temple of 
Hercules^ standing in Gades, was never in any peace of 
thoughts, till by his memorable exployts hee had purchas'd to 
himselfe the name of Alexander, as Alexander, till hee thought 
himself of desert to be called Achilles ; Achilles, Theseus ; 
Theseus, till he had sufficiently imitated the acts of Hercules ; 
and Hercules, till hee held himselfe worthy to be called the 
son of Jupiter. Why should not the lives of these worthyes, 
presented in these our dayes, effect the like wonders in the 
princes of our times, which can no way bee so exquisitly de- 
monstrated, nor so lively portrayed, as by action. Oratory is 
a kind of speaking picture ; therefore, may some say, is it not 
sufficient to discourse to the eares of princes the fame of these 
conquerors ? Painting, likewise, is a dumbe oratory ; therefore 
may we not as well, by some curious Pygmalion, drawe their 
conquests to worke the like love in princes towards these wor- 
thyes, by shewing them their pictures drawn to the life, as it 
wrought on the poore painter to bee inamoured of his owne 
shadow ? I answer this. 

JVon magis expressi vultus per ahenea signa, 
Qiiam per vatis opus mores animique virorum 
Clarorum apparent. 

The visage is no better cut in brasse, 

Nor can the carver so expresse the face, 

As doth the poet's penne, whose arts surpasse 

To give men's lives and vertues their due grace. 

A description is only a shadow, received by the eare, but 
not perceived by the eye; so lively portrature is meerely a 
forme seene by the eye, but can neither shew action, passion, 
motion, or any other gesture to moove the spirits of the be- 
holder to admiration : but to see a souldier shap'd like a 
souldier, walke, speake, act like a souldier ; to see a Hector 
all besmered in blood, trampling upon the bulkes of kinges ; 


a Troilus returning from the field, in the sight of his father 
Priam, as if man and horse, even from the steed's rough fet- 
lockes to the plume on the champion's helmet, had bene to- 
gether plunged into a purple ocean ; to see a Pompey ride in 
triumph, then a Caesar conquer that Pompey ; labouring Han- 
nibal alive, hewing his passage through the Alpes. To see as 
I have seene, Hercules, in his owne shape, hunting the boare, 
knocking downe the bull, taming the hart, fighting with Hy- 
dra, murdering Geryon, slaughtering Diomed, wounding the 
Stymphalides, killing the Centaurs, pashing the lion, squeezing 
the dragon, dragging Cerberus in chaynes, and lastly, on his 
high pyramides writing Nil ultra. Oh, these were sights to 
make an Alexander ! 

To turne to our domesticke hystories : what English blood, 
seeing the person of any bold Englishman presented, and doth 
not hugge his fame, and hunnye at his valor, pursuing him in 
his enterprise with his best wishes, and as beeing wrapt in 
contemplation, offers to him in his hart all prosperous per- 
formance, as if the personator were the man personated ? so 
bewitching a thing is lively and well-spirited action, that it 
hath power to new-mold the harts of the spectators, and 
fashion them to the shape of any noble -and notable attempt. 
What coward, to see his countryman valiant, would not bee 
ashamed of his owne cowardise? What English prince, should 
hee behold the true portrature of that famous King Ivlward 
the Third, foraging France, taking so great a king captive in 
his owne country, quartering the English lyons with the 
French flowor-dolyce, and would not bee suddenly inflam'd 
with so royale a spectacle, being made apt and fit for the like 
atchievement. So of Henry the Fift ; but not to be tedious 
in any thing, Ovid, in one of his poems, holds this opinion 
that Romulus was the first that brought plaios into Italy, which 
be thus sets downe. 

Primus sollicitos fcclstl, Romule, lu.dos, 
Cum juvit viduos rapt a Sabiiu/ riros: 


I Tune neque marmoreo pendebant vela theatro, fyc. 
Which wee English thus 

Thou, noble Romulus, first playes contrives. 

To get thy widdowed souldiers Sabine wyves 

In those dayes from the marble house did wave 

No saile, no silken flagge, or ensigne brave : 

Then was the tragicke stage not painted red, 

Or any mixed staines on pillers spred : 

Then did the sceane want art, th 1 unready stage 

Was made of grasse and earth in that rude age ; 

About the which were thick-leaved branches placed, 

Nor did the audients hold themselves disgraced 

Of turfe and heathy sods to make their seates, 

Framed in degrees of earth and mossy peates. 

Thus plac'd in order every Roman pry'd 

Into her face that sat next by his side, 

And closing with her severally gan move, 

The innocent Sabine women to their love : 

And whilst the piper Thuscus rudely plaid, 

And by thrice stamping with his foote had made 

A signe unto the rest, there was a shout. 

Whose shrill report pierst all the aire about. 

Now at a signe of rape, given from the king, 

Round through the house the lusty Romans fling, 

Leaving no corner of the same unsought, 

Till every one a frighted virgin caught. 

Looke, as the trembling dove the eagle flyes, 

Or a yong lambe when he the woolfe espyes, 

So ran the poore girles, filling th'aire with skreekes, 

Emptying of all the colour their pale cheekes. 

One feare possest them all, but not one looke, 

This teares her haire, she hath her wits forsooke, 

Some sadly sit, some on their mothers call, 

Some chafe, some flye, some stay, but frighted all. 


Thus were the ravish'd Sabines blushing led 

(Becomming shame) unto each Roman's bed : 

If any striv'd against it, streight her man 

Would take her on his knee (whom feare made wan) 

And say, Why weep'st thou, sw T eet ? what ailes my deere ? 

Dry up these drops, these clowds of sorrow cleere : 

Il'e be to thee, if thou thy griefe will smother, 

Such as thy father was unto thy mother. 

Full well could Romulus his souldiers please, 

To give them such faire mistresses as these. 

If such rich wages thou wilt give to me, 

Great Romulus, thy souldier I will be. 

Romulus, having erected the walles of Rome and leading 
under him a warlike nation, being in continuall war with the 
Sabines, after the choyce selecting of a place fit for so famous 
a citty, and not knowing how to people the same, his traine 
wholly consisting of souldiers, who, without the company of 
women (they not having any in their army) could not multi- 
ply, but so were likely that their immortal fames should dye 
issulesse with their mortal bodies, thus, therefore, Romulus 
devised : After a parle and attonement made with the neigh- 
bour nations, hee built a theater, plaine, according to the 
time, yet large, fit for the entertainement of so great an 
assembly; and these were they whose famous issue peopled the 
cittie of Rome, which in after ages grew to such height that 
not Troy, founded by Dardanus Carthage, layed by Dido 
Tyrus, built by Agenor Memphis, made by Ogdous Thebes, 
seated by Cadmus nor Babylon, reared by Semiramis were 
any way equal to this situation, grounded by Romulus, to which 
all the discovered kingdomes of the eartli after became tribu- 
taries. And in the noon-tide of their glory, and height of all 
their honor, they edified theaters and ampin-theaters ; for in 
their flourishing common-weale their publikc comedians and 
tragedians most florished, insomuch that the tragicke and 


comicke poets were all generally admired of the people, and 
particularly every man of his private Mecsenas. 
Imperante In the reigne of Augustus, Christ was born ; 

nat g uTest and, as well in his dayes as before his birth, 

Christus. these solemnities were held in the greatest esti- 

Imperante _. . -, 

Tiberio cru- mation. In Julius Caesar s time, predecessor to 

cifixus. Augustus, the famous hony-tong'd orator, Ci- 

cero, fiorished ; who, amongst many other his eloquent ora- 
tions, writ certaine yet extant, for the comedian, Roseius (pro 
Rostio Comcedo), of whom we shall speake more large here- 
after, These continued in their honour till the reigne of 
Tiberius Caesar ; and under Tiberius Christ was crucified. 
To this end do I use this assertion, because, in the full and 
perfect time our Saviour sojourned on the earth, even in those 
happy and peacefull dayes, the spacious theaters were in the 
greatest opinion amongst the Romans ; yet neither Christ 
himselfe, nor any of his sanctified apostles, in any of their 
sermons, acts, or documents, so much as named them, or 
upon any abusive occasion touched them. Therefore hence 
(me thinkes) a very probable and important argument may be 
grounded, that since they in their divine wisdomes knew all 
the shines abounding in the world before that time, taxt and 
reproved all the abuses reigning in that time, and foresaw all 
the actions and inconveniences (to the church prejudicial!) in 
the time to come, since they (I say), in all their holy doc- 
trines, bookes, and principles of divinity, were content to 
passe them over, as things tollerated and indifferent, why 
should any nice and over-scrupulous heads, since they cannot 
ground their curiousnesse either upon the Old or New Testa- 
ment, take upon them to correct, controule, or carpe at that, 
against which they cannot finde any text in the sacred scrip- 
tures ? 

In the time of Nero Caesar, the apostle Paul was perse- 
cuted and suffered Nero was then emperour : Paul writ his 
Epistle to the Romans, and at the same time did the theaters 


most florish amongst the Romans ; yet where can we quote 
any place in his epistles which forbids the church of God, 
then resident in Rome, to absent themselves from any such 
assemblies ? 

To speake my opinion with all indifferency, God hath not 
enjoyned us to weare all our apparrell solely to defend the 
cold : some garments we weare for warmth, others for orna- 
ment. So did the children of Israel hang eare-rings in their 
eares, nor was it by the law forbidden them. That purity is 
not look't for at our hands, being mortall and humane, that is 
required of the angels, being celestiall and divine. God made 
us of earth, men ; knowes our natures, dispositions, and im- 
perfections, and therefore hath limited us a time to rejoyce, as 
he hath enjoyned us a time to mourne for our transgressions ; 
and I hold them more scrupulous than well advised, that go 
about to take from us the use of all moderate recreations. 
Why hath God ordained for man varietie of meates, dainties, 
and delicates, if not to taste thereon ? Why doth the world 
yeeld choyce of honest pastimes, if not decently to use them ? 
Was not the hare made to be hunted ? the staofge to be 


chaced ? and so of all other beasts of game in their severall 
kindes. Since God hath provided us of these pastimes, why 
may we not use them to his glory ? Now, if you aske me 
why were not the theaters as gorgeously built in all other 
cities of Italy as Rome, and why are not play-houses main- 
tained as well in other cities of England as London? My 
answere is, It is not meet every meane esquire should carry 
the part belonging to one of the nobility, or for a noble-man 
to usurpe the estate of a prince. Rome was a metropolis, a 
place whither all the nations knowne under the sunne re- 
sorted : so is London, and being to receive all estates, all 
princes, all nations, therefore to afFoord them all choyce of 
pastimes, sports, and recreations. Yet wore them theaters in 
all the greatest cities of the world, as we will more largely 
particularize hereafter. 


I never yet could read any history of any commonweale, 
which did not thrive and prosper whilst these publike solem- 
nities were held in adoration. Oh ! but (say some) Marcus 
Aurelius banisht all such triviall exercises bevond the confines 


of Italy. Indeed, this emperour was a philosopher of the sect 
of Diogenes, a Cinicke ; and \vhether the hand of Diogenes 
would become a scepter or a root better, I leave to your 
judgments. This Aurelius was a great and sharpe reprover, 
who, because the matrons and ladies of Rome, in scorne of 
his person, made a play of him, in his time interdicted the use 
of their theatres : so, because his wife, Faustine, plaid false 
with him, he generally exclaimed against all women ; because 
himselfe could not touch an instrument, he banisht all the 
musitians in Rome ; and, being a meere coward, put all the 
gladiators and sword-players into exile. And, lest his o\vne 
suspected life should be againe acted by the comedians, as it 
before had beene by the noble matrons, he profest himselfe 
adversary to all of that quality ; so severe a reformation of the 
weale publike hee used, restraining the citizens of their free 
liberties, w 7 hich till his daies was not scene in Rome. But 
what profited this the w T eale publicke ? Do but peruse the 
ancient Roman chronicles, and you shall undoubtedly finde, 
that from the time of this precise Emperour, that stately city, 
whose lofty buildings crowned seven high hils at once, and 
over- peered them all, streight way begun to hang the head. 
By degrees the forreigne kingdomes revolted, and the homage 
done them by strange nations \vas in a little space quite 
abrogated ; for they governed all the world, some under 
consuls, some under pro-consuls, presidents, and pretors : 
they divided their dominions and contryes into principalities, 
some into provinces, some into toparchyes, some into te- 
trarchyes, some into tribes, others into ethnarchyes ; but now 
their homage ceast, Marcus Aurelius ended their mirth, 
which presaged, that shortly after should begin their sorrow. 
He banisht their liberty, and immediately followed their bon- 


dage ; for Rome, which till then kept all the nations of the 
world in subjective awe, was in a little space awd even by 
the basest nations of the world. 

To leave Italy and looke backe into Greece. The sages 
and princes of Grecia, who for the refinednesse of their 
language were in such reputation through the world, that 
all other tongues were esteemed barbarous, these, that 
w r ere the first understanders, trained up their youthful 
nobility to bee actors, debarring the base mechanickes 
so worthy employment ; for none but the young heroes 
were admitted that practise, so to embolden them in the 
delivery of any forraine embassy. These wise men of 
Greece (so called by the Oracle) could by their industry 
finde out no neerer or directer course to plant humanity and 
manners in the hearts of the multitude, then to instruct them 
by moralized mysteries what vices to avoyd, what vertues to 
embrace, what enormities to abandon, what ordinances to 
observe ; whose lives, being for some speciall endowments in 
former times honoured, they should admire and follow ; whose 
vicious actions, personated in some licentious liver, they 
should despise and shunne ; which, borne out as well by the 
w r isedome of the poet, as supported by the worth of the actors, 
wrought such impression in the hearts of the plebe, that in 
short space they excelled in civility and governement, inso- 
much that from them all the neighbour nations drew their 
patternes of humanity, as well in the establishing of their 
lawes, as the reformation of their manners. These Magi and 
Gymnosophistse, that lived (as I may say) in the childhood 
and infancy of the world, before it knew how to speake per- 
fectly, thought even in those dayes that action was the neerest 
way to plant understanding in the hearts of the ignorant. 
Yea, (but say some) you ought not to confound the habits of 
either sex, as to let your boycs weare the attires of virgins, 
&c. To which I answere : The scriptures are not alwayes to 
be expounded meerely according to the letter (for in such 


estate stands our mayne sacramentall controversie), but they 
ought exactly to bee conferred with the purpose they handle. 
To do as the Sodomites did, use preposterous lusts in pre- 
posterous habits, is in that text flatly and severely forbidden ; 
nor can I imagine any man, that hath in him any taste or 
relish of Christianity, to be guilty of so abhorred a sinne. 
Besides, it is not probable that playes were meant in that 
text, because we read not of any playes knowne, in that time 
that Deuteronomie was writ, among the children of Israel. 
Nor do I hold it lawfull to beguile the eyes of the world in 
confounding the shapes of either sex, as to keep any youth 
in the habit of a virgin, or any virgin in the shape of a lad, to 
shroud them from the eyes of their fathers, tutors, or pro- 
tectors, or to any other sinister intent whatsoever ; but, to 
see our youths attired in the habit of women, who knowes not 
what their intents be ? who cannot distinguish them by their 
names, assuredly knowing they are but to represent such a 
lady, at such a time appoynted ? 

Do not the Universities, the fountaines and well springs of 
all good arts, learning, and documents, admit the like in 
their colledges ? and they (I assure my selfe) are not ignorant 
of their true use. In the time of my residence in Cambridge, 
I have seen tragedyes, comedyes, historyes, pastorals, and 
shewes, publickly acted, in which the graduates of good place 
and reputation have bene specially parted. This it held 
necessary for the emboldening of their junior schollers to 
arme them with audacity against they come to bee em- 
ployed in any publicke exercise, as in the reading of the 
dialecticke, rhetoricke, ethicke, mathematicke, the physicke, 
or metaphysike lectures. It teacheth audacity to the bashfull 
grammarian, beeing newly admitted into the private colledge, 
and, after matriculated and entred as a member of the Uni- 
versity, and makes him a bold sophister, to argue pro et 
contra to compose his syllogysmes, cathegoricke, or hypo- 
theticke (simple or compound), to reason and frame a suffi- 


cient argument to prove his questions, or to defend any 
axioma, to distinguish of any dilemma, and be able to 
moderate in any argumentation whatsoever. 

To come to rhetoricke : it not onely emboldens a scholler to 
speake, but instructs him to speake well, and with judgement 
to observe his commas, colons, and full poynts ; his paren- 
theses, his breathing spaces, and distinctions ; to keepe a de- 
corum in his countenance, neither to frowne when he should 
smile, nor to make unseemely and disguised faces in the 
delivery of his words ; not to stare with his eies, draw awry 
his mouth, confound his voice in the hollow of his throat, or 
teare his words hastily betwixt his teeth ; neither to buffet his 
deske like a mad man, nor stande in his place like a livelesse 
image, demurely plodding, and without any smooth and formal 
motion. It instructs him to fit his phrases to his action, and 
his action to his phrase, and his pronuntiation to them both. 

Tully, in his booke Ad Caium Herennium, requires five 
things in an orator invention, disposition, eloquution, memory, 
and pronuntiation ; yet all are imperfect without the sixt, 
which is action, for be his invention never so fluent and ex- 
quisite, his disposition and order never so composed and 
formall, his eloquence and elaborate phrases never so mate- 
riall and pithy, his memory never so firme and retentive, his 
pronuntiation never so musicall and plausive, yet without a 
comely and elegant gesture, a gratious and a bewitching kinde 
of action, a naturall and familiar motion of the head, the 
hand, the body, and a moderate and fit countenance sutable 
to all the rest, I hold all the rest as nothing. A delivery and 
sweet action is the glosse and beauty of any discourse that be- 
longs to a scholler. And this is the action behoovefull in 
any that professe this quality, not to use any impudent or 
forced motion in any part of the body, nor rough or other 
violent gesture ; nor on the contrary to stand like a stiffb 
starcht man, but to qualifie every thing according to the 
nature of the person personated : for in overacting trickes, 


and toyling too much in the anticke habit of humors, men of 
the ripest desert, greatest opinions, and best reputations, 
may breake into the most violent absurdities. I take not 
upon me to teach, but to advise, for it becomes my juniority 
rather to be pupil'd my selfe, then to instruct others. 

To proceed, and to looke into those men that professe 
themselves adversaries to this quality, they are none of the 
gravest and most ancient doctors of the academy, but onely a 
sorte of finde-faults, such as interest their prodigall tongues 
in all men's affaires without respect. These I have heard as 
liberally in their superficiall censures taxe the exercises per- 
formed in their colledges, as these acted on our publicke 
stages, not looking into the true and direct use of either, but 
ambitiously preferring their owne presumptuous humors, be- 
fore the profound and authenticall judgements of all the 
learned doctors of the Universitie. Thus you see, that touching 
the antiquity of actors and acting, they have not beene new, 
lately begot by any upstart invention, but I have derived 
them from the first Olimpiads, and I shall continue the use of 
them even till this present age. And so much touching their 

Pars superest ccepti : pars est exhausta laboris. 




their ancient Dignitie. 


JULTUS CAESAR, the famous conquerour, discoursing with 
Marcus Cicero, the as famous orator, amongst many other 
matters debated it pleased the emperour to aske his opinion 
of the Mstriones, the players of Rome, pretending some cavell 
against them, as men whose imployment in the common- wcale 
was unnecessary. To whom Cicero answered thus : Content 
thee, Caesar : there bee many heads busied and bewitched with 
these pastimes now in Rome, which otherwise would be inqui- 
sitive after thee and thy greatnesse. Which answere, how 
sufficiently the emperour approved, may be conjectured by the 
many guifts bestow r ed, and priviledges and charters after granted 
to men of that quality. Such was likewise the opinion of a 
great statesman of this land, about the time that certaine 
bookes were called in question. Doubtlesse there be many 
men of that temper, who, were they not carried away, and 
weaned from their owne corrupt and bad disposition, and by 
accidentall meanes removed and altered from their dangerous 
and sullen intendments, would bo found apt and prone to 
many notorious and traytcrous practises. Kings and monarch^ 
are by God placed and inthroaned supra nos, above us, and 
we are to regard them as the sun from whom wo rocoive tho 
light to live under, whose beauty mid brightnosse we may onoly 
admire, not meddle with. Nc liulmiius ciun Diis : tlioy that 
shoot at the starres over their heads, their arrowes fall din-Hly 
downe, and wound themselves. But this allusion may be 


better referred to the use of action promised in our third 
treatise, then to their dignity, which next and immediately 
(by God's grace) our purpose is to handle. 

The word tragedy is derived from the Greeke word rpdyos, 
caper, a goat, because the goat^ being a beast most injurious 
to the vines, was sacrificed to Bacchus. Heereupon Diodurus 
writes that tragedies had their first names from the oblations 
due to Bacchus ; or else of rpi>g, a kinde of painting, which the 
tragedians of the old time used to stayne their faces with. By 
the censure of Horace, Thespis was the first tragicke writer : 

Horace, Arte Jgnotum tragicce genus invenisse camence 

Dicitur, etplaustris vexisse poemata Thespis. 

The unknowne Tragicke Muse Thespis first sought, 
And her high poems in her chariot brought. 

This Thespis was an Athenian poet, borne in Thespina, a 
free towne in Bceotia by Helicon : of him the nine Muses were 
called Thespiades. But by the censure of Quintilian, ^Eschylus 
was before him ; but after them Sophocles and Euripides 

clothed their tragedies in better ornament. Livius 
PoticJ. Virgil. 

Andromcus was the first that writ any Roman 

tragedy, in which kinde of poesie Accius, Pacuvius, Seneca, 
and Ovidius excelled. 

Ovid, Amo- Sceptra tamen sumpsi : curdque tragcedia nostra 

rum. lib. 2. ~ . . . 

Eleg. 18. Lrewt ; at hmc open quamhbet aptus eram. 

The sceptred tragedy then proov'd our wit, 
And to that worke we found us apt and fit. 

Againe, in his fift Booke, De tristibus. Eleg. 8. 

Carmina quod vestro saltari nostra theatro 
Versibus, et plaudi scribis (amice) meis. 

Deere friend, thou writ'st our Muse is 'mongst you song, 
And in your theaters with plaudits rong. 


Likewise in his epistle to Augustus, writ from the Ponticke 
Island, whither he was banisht : 

Et dedimus tragicis scriptum regale cothurnis, 
Qiurque grams debet verba cothurnus habet. 

With royall stile speakes our Cothurnate Muse, 
A buskind phrase in buskin'd playes we use. 

The word comedy is derived from the Greeke word Ko/ios-, a 
street, and wdrj, canius, a street song ; as signifying there was 
ever mirth in those streets where Comedies most florisht : 

Hccc paces habuere bona, ventique secundi. 

In this kind, Aristophanes, Eupolis, Cratinus were famous ; 
after them, Menander and Philemon : succeeding them, Cici- 
lius, Naevius, Plautus, and Terentius. 

Musaque Turani tragicis innixa cothurnis 
Et tua cum socco, Musa> Melisse levis. 

Turanus' tragicke buskin grac'd the play, 
Melissa's comicke shooe made lighter way. 

The ancient histriographers write, that among Alex. Meta- 
the Greekes there were divers places of exercises 
appointed for poets ; some at the grave of Theseus, others at 
Helicon, where they in comedies and tragedies contended for 
several prises, where Sophocles was ajudged victor over /s- 
chylus. There were others in the citty of Elis, where Mcnan- 
der was foyled by Philemon. In the same kinde, Ifoiod is 
sayd to have triumpht over Homer. So Corinna, (for her 
excellencies in these inventions, called musica bjricu) ex- 
celled Pindarus, the Theban poet, for which she was five times 
crowned with garlands. 

The first publicke theater was by Dionysius built in Athens : 
it was fashioned in the manner of a ?emi-circlo, or halfe-moono, 
whose galleries and degrees were reared from tln> ground, 



their staires high, in the midst of which did arise the stage, 
beside, such a convenient distance from the earth, that the 
audience assembled might easily behold the whole project 
without impediment. From this the Romanes had their first 
patterne, which at the first not being roof 't. but lying open to 
all weathers, Quintus Catulus was the first that caused the 
outside to bee covered with linnen cloth, and the inside to bee 
huno- round with curtens of silke. But when Marcus Scaurus 


was JEdilis, hee repaired it, and supported it round with pillers 
of marble. 

Caius Curio, at the solemne obsequies of his father, erected 
a famous theater of timber, in so strange a forme that, on two 
several stages, two sundry playes might be acted at once, and 
yet the one bee no hinderance or impediment to the other ; 
and, when hee so pleased, the whole frame was artificially 
composed to meet in the middest, which made an amphi- 

P:n:r,ey the great, after his victories against INIithridates, 
king of Pontus. saw in the citty Mitilene a theater of another 
forrne ; and, after his triumphes and returne to Rome, he 
raised one after the same patterne of free-stone, of that vast- 
nesse and receit, that within his spaciousnesse it was able at 
once to receive fourescore thousand people, every one to sit, 
see, and heare. 

In emulation of this sumptuous and gorgious building, 
Julius Caesar, successor to Pompey's greatnesse, exceeded him 
in his famous architecture : hee raised an amphitheater 
Campo Martio, in the field of 3Iars, which as farre excelled 
Pomp y\. as Pornpey's did exceed Caius Curio's, Curio's that 
of Marcus Scaurus, Scaurus' that of Quintus Catulus, or Ca- 
ms' that which was first made in Athens by Dionysius : for 
the basses, columnes, pillars, and pyramides were all of hewed 
marble ; the covering of the stage, which wee call the heavens 
(where upon any occasion tneir gods descended), were geo- 
metrically supported by a giant-like Atlas, whom the poets 


for his astrology feigne to beare heaven on his shoulders ; in 
which an artificial! sunne and moone, of extraordinary aspect 
and brightnesse, had their diurnall and nor-turnall motions ; so 
had the starres their true and coelestiall course ; so had the 
spheares. which in their continuall motion made a most sweet 
and ravishing harmony. Here were the elements and planets 
in their degrees, the skv of the moone. the skv of Mercurv. 

* * * " 

Venus, Sol, Mars. Jupiter, and Saturne ; the starres, both 
fixed and wandering, and above all these, the first mover or 
prlmum mobile, there were the 12 signes ; the lines equinoc- 
tiall and zodiacal \ the meridian circle, or zenith ; the orizon 
circle, or emisphere : the zones, torrid and frozen ; the poles, 
articke and antarticke, with all other tropickes. orbs, lines, 
circles, the solstitium, and all other motions of the stars, 
signes, and planets. In briefe, in that little compasse were 
comprehended the perfect modell of the firmament, the whole 
frame of the heavens, with all grounds of astronomic-all con- 
jecture. From the roofe grew a loover, or turret, of an ex- 
ceeding altitude, from which an ensigne of siike waved con- 
tinually, pendebant rela thcatro. But lest I waste too much 
of that compendiousuesse I have promised in my discourse in 
idle descriptions, I leave you to judge the proportion of the 
body by the making of this one limbe, every piller, seat, foot- 
post, staire, gallery, and whatsoever else belongs to the fur- 
nishing of such a place, being in cost, substance, forme, and 
artificiall workmanship most sutable. The floore, stu_ . 
roofe, outside, and inside a- costly as the Pantheon or Capi- 
tol. In the principall galleries were special, remote, selected, 
and chosen seats for the emperour, _/-<:* '..nsci'ipti, dictators, 
consuls, praetors, tribunes, triumviri, decemviri, aeJ: 5, ou- 
rules, and other noble officers among the senators : all other 
roomes were free for the plebe, or multituJ , To this pur- 
pose I introduce these famous edifice?, as wondring at their 
cost and state, thus intimating, that if the quality <.-i' acting 


were (as some propose) altogether unworthy, why for the spe- 
ciall practise, and memorable imploynient of the same, were 
founded so many rare and admirable monuments ? and by 
whom were they erected ? but by the greatest princes of their 
times, and the most famous and worthiest of them all, builded 
by him that was the greatest prince of the world, Julius Caesar, 
at what time in his hand he grip't the universal empire of the 
earth. So of Augustus Caesar : 

Inspice ludorum sumptus, August e> tuorum 
Empta tibi magno. 

Behold, Augustus, the great pompe and state, 
Of these thy pi ayes payd deere for, at hye rate. 

Hcec tu spectasti, spectandaque scepe dedisti. 

And could any inferiour quality bee more worthily esteemed 
or nobler graced, then to have princes of such magnificence 
and state to bestow on them places of such port and counte- 
nance ? had they been never well regarded, they had been 
never so sufficiently provided for, nor would such worthy 
princes have strived who should (by their greatest expence 
and provision) have done them the amplest dignity, had they 
not with incredible favour regarded the quality. I will not 
traverse this too farre, least I incurre some suspition of selfe- 
love : I rather leave it to the favourable consideration of the 
wise, though to the perversenesse of the ignorant ; who, had 
they any taste either of poesie, phylosophy, or historical! anti- 
quity, would rather stand mated at their owne impudent igno- 
rance, then against such noble and notable examples stand in 
publicke defiance. 

I read of a theater built in the midst of the river Tiber, 
standing on pillers and arches, the foundation wrought under 
water like London-bridge: the nobles and ladyes, in their barges 
and gondelayes, landed at the very stayres of the galleryes. 
After these they composed others, but differing in forme from 


the theater, or amphitheater, and every such was called Cir- 
cus, the frame globe-like and merely round : 

Circus in hanc exit clamataque pahna theatris. 

And the yeare from the first building of Rome, five hun- 
dred threescore and seven, what time Spurius Posthumus Al- 
binus, and Quintus Martius Philippus were consuls, Nero 
made one, and the noble Flaminius another 5 but the greatest 
was founded by Tarquinius Prise us, and was called Circus 
Maximus. In this the gladiators practised, the widenesse and 
spaviousnesse was such, that in it they fought at barriers, and 
many times ran at tilt. Dion records eighteene elephants 
slaine at once in one theater. More particularly to survey the 
rarer monuments of Rome, neere to the Pantheon (the temple 
of the Roman gods), at the discent from the hil Capitolinus, 
lies the great Forum, by which is scituate the great amphi- 
theater of Titus, first erected by Vespatian, but after (almost 
ruined by fire) by the Roman Titus rarely re-edified. It is 
called Colliseus, also a Cavea, which signifies a Ammianus. 
scaffold, also Arena, a place of combate, by Sil- 
vianus and Prudentius ; which name Tertullian, Piiny, Ovid, 
Firmicus, and Apuleius likewise give it. It had the title of 
Circus, Cavea, and Stadium, by Suetonius, Capitolinus, and 
Arcadius. Cassianus afnrmes these theaters consecrated to 
Diana Taurica, Tertullian to Mars and Diana, Martial to 
Jupiter Latiaris, and to Stygian Pluto, whose opinion Minu- 
tius and Prudentius approve. The first structures were by 
the tribune Curio, which Din, lib. 37, aih'rmes. Vitruvius, 
lib. 5, saith, Malta thcatra Romtc structa quot Pliny, lib. 36. 
annis. Of Julius Caesar's amphitheater Campo 
Martio Dio Cassius records, which Augustus J>i<> Cassius. 
after patronized, as Victor remembers of them, 
whose charge Statilius Taurus assisted, of whom Dio speaketh 

thus 'O ravpos SrariXtos 6fUTpv, &C. aURO Ul'ljlS Dto. lib. 51. 

DCCXXV. Pub. Victor forgets not Circus F/amrninii, and Sue- 


Suetonius. tonius remembers one builded by Caligula at 
' a P' Septa, whose building Claudius at first inter- 

Tacitus. dieted. Nero erected a magnificent theater in 

ho. 13. 

Annalium. the field of Mars. Suetonius, lib. Ner. 12. 

Publius Victor speakes further of a castrense theatrum, a 
theater belonging to the campe in the country of the .ZEsquiles, 
built by Tiberius Caesar, and of Pompey's theater Pliny wit- 
Pliny. lib. 36, nesseth. The great theater of Statilius, being in 
cap. 15. greatest use, was burnt in the time of Nero, 

which XiphilinuS thus Speakes of, TO re TraXanov TO opos o-v/JiTvav KO.I 

TO BeaTpov TOV Tavpov eKavdrj. This was built in the middest of 
the old citty, and after the combustion repaired by Vespatian, 
Consulatu suo 8, whose coyne of one side beares the express 
figure of his theater ; yet was it onely begun by him, but per- 
fected by his sonne Titus. Eutropius and Cassiodorus attri- 
bute this place soly to Titus, but Aurelius Victor gives him 
onely the honour of the perfecting a place so exquisitely begun : 
this after was repaired by Marcus Anthonius Pius, by whose 
cost, sayth Capitolinus, the temple of Hadrianus was repaired, 
and the great theater reedified, which Heliogabalus, by the 
testimony of Lampridius, patronized, and after the senate of 
Rome tooke to their protection under the Gordians. 

Touching theaters without Rome, Lypsius records Theatra 
circa Romam eoctructa passim : even in Jerusalem, Herodes 
magnificus et illustris rex non uno loco Judeae amphi-theatra 
edificavit, extruxit in ipsd urbe sacra, > r<u TT^KO (as Josephus 
saith) 'A/LK/H0earpoz; peyio-Tov. Herod, a magnificent and illus- 
trious king, not in one place of Judea erected amphitheaters, 
but even in the holy citty hee built one of greatest receit. 
Also in Greece, Asia, Africke, Spaine, France 5 nor is there 
any province in which their ancient structures do not yet 
remaine, or their perishing mines are not still remembered. 
In Italy ad Lirim, Campanice fluvium juxta Minturnas re- 
maines part of an ample amphi-theater. 


At Puteolis, a city by the sea- side in Campania, 8 miles from 
Naples, one. 

At Capua, a magnificent one of sollid marble. 

At Alba, in Italy, one. 

At Ocrioulum, in Umbria, one. 

At Verona, one most beautiful. 

At Florence, one whose compasse yet remaines. 

At Athens, in Greece, one of marble. 

At Pola, in Istria, by the Hadriaticke sea, one described by 
Sebastian Serlius. 

At Hyspalis, in Spaine, one built without the walles of the 

In Turamace, in Vesuna, one of squared stone, the length of 
30 perches, or poles, the breadth 20. 

At Arelate one. 

At Burdegall, one. 

At Nemaus, one, remembred by Euseb. in Ecclesiastica 

At Lygeris, one. 

Another among the Helvetians. 

The Veronense theatrum marmoreum, erected before the 
time of Augustus, as Torellus Serayna in his description of 
Verona records, but Cyrnicus Anconitanus reports it built in 
the nine and thirtieth yeare of Octavian : Carolus Sigonius 

referres it to the reigne of Maximinian, who saith ... 

oicon, no. 

Maximinian built theaters in Mediolanum, Aquilea, ///*/. Occi- 
and Brixium. The like Cornelius Tacitus, 2 ///.v'., 
remembers in Placentia, but the description of the Verona 
theater Levinus Kersmakerus sets downo. This the great 
king Francis, anno 1539, gave to certain actors, who thirty 
dayes space together represented in the same the Acts of the 
Apostles, nor was it lawfull by the edict of the king for any 
man to remove any stone within thirty poles of his scituation, 
lest they should endanger the foundation of tho tin-liter. 

The like have been in Venice, Millan, Padua. In Paris 


there are divers now in use by the French king's comedians, 
as the Burgonian, and others. Others in Massilia, in Trevers, 
Magontia, in Agrippina, and infinite cities of Greece, Thebes, 
Carthage, Delphos, Crete, Paphos, Epirus, also in the citie 
of Tydena, so at Civil, in Spaine, and at Madrill, with 

Archduke At the entertainement of the Cardinall Alphonsus 

Alphonsus. an( } the i n f an t O f Spaine in the Low- countryes, they 
were presented at Antwerpe with sundry pageants and playes : 
the King of Denmarke, father to him that now reigrieth, en- 
tertained into his service a company of English comedians, 
commended unto him by the honourable the Earle of Leicester : 
the Duke of Brunswicke and the Landgrave of Hessen retaine 
in their courts certaine of ours of the same quality. But 
among the Romans they were in highest reputation, for in 
comparison of their playes they never regarded any of their 
solemnities, there ludi funebres , there Floralia, Cerealia, Fru- 
yalia> Bacchanalia, or Lupercalia. 

And amongst us one of our best English Chroniclers 
records, that when Edward the Fourth would shew 
himselfe in publicke state to the view of the people, hee re- 
paired to his palace at S. Johnes, where he accustomed to see 
the citty actors : and since then that house, by the prince's 
free gift, hath belonged to the Office of the Revels, where our 
court playes have beene in late daies yearely rehersed, per- 
fected, and corrected before they come to the publike view of 
the prince and the nobility. Ovid, speaking of the Tragicke 
Muse, thus writes. 

Venit et inyenti violenta tragedia passu, 
Fronts comce torvd pallajacebat humi : 
Lceva manns sceptrum late regale tenebat, 
Lydius apta pedum vincta cothurnus habet. 

Then came the Tragicke Muse with a proud pace, 
Measuring her slow strides with majesticke grace : 


Her long traine sweepes the earth, and she doth stand 
With buskinM legge, rough brow, and sceptred hand. 

Well knew the poet what estimation she was in with Au- 
gustus, when he describes her holding in her left hand a scepter. 
Now to recite some famous actors that lived in the preceding 
ages. The first comedians were Cincius and Faliscus ; the first 
tragedians were Minutius and Prothonius. ^Elius Donatus, 
in his preface to Terence his Andria, saith that in Cincius. 

that comedy Lucius Attilius, Latinus Praenes- 5??*' 
J Minutius. 

tinus, and Lucius Ambivius Turpio were actors : Prothonius. 
this comedy was dedicated to Cibil, and such Latinus 
were called Ludi Megalenses, acted in the yeare Pr&neitiwts. 

/ t/ (* 1 tJ *? 

that M. Fulvius was ^Edilis, Quintus Minutius jmbivius 
Valerius, and M. Glabrio were Curules, which Turjno. 
were counsellers and chiefe officers in Rome, so called because 
they customably sate in chayres of ivory. The songs that 

were sunsr in this comedy were set by Flaccus, the 

J J Flaccus. 

sonne of Clodius. Terence his Eunuchus, or Se- 
cond Comedy, was acted in the yeare L. Posthumus and 
L. Cornelius were yEdil. Curules, Marcus Valerius, and Caius 
Fannius Consuls. The yeare from the building p r otinus. 
of Rome, 291, in his Adelphi one Protinus acted L - Sernus. 
and was highly applauded, in his Hecyra Julius 

v-' //( C / . 

Servius. Cicero commends one Rupilius, a rare 
tragedian. I read of another called Arossus, another called 
Theocrines, who purchased him a great applause Jftifiilius. 
in the playes called Terentini. There were other Theocrinet. 
playes in Rome, called Actia and Pythia, made in sKwpus. 
honour of Apollo for killing the dragon Python. In those one 
^Esopus bare the praise, a man generally esteemed, who left 
behind him much substance, which Clodius, his sonne, after 

Qucr graris JEsopiis, qinr doctus Roscins cgit. 


Laborious was an excellent poet and a rare actor, 
Labencus. . 

who writ a booke of the gesture and action to be used 

by the tragedians and comedians in performance of every part 
in his native humor. Plautus himselfe was so inamored of 
the actors in his dayes, that hee published many excellent and 
exquisite comedies yet extant. Aristotle com- 
mends one Theodoretes to be the best tragedian 
in his time. This in the presence of Alexander personated 
Achilles, which so delighted the emperour that hee bestowed 
on him a pension of quinque mille drachmae, five thousand 
drachmaes, and every thousand drachmaes are twenty nine 
pounds, three shillings, foure pence sterling. 

Roscius, whom the eloquent orator and excellent statesman 
of Rome, Marcus Cicero, for his elegant pronuntiation and 
formall gesture called his Jewell, had from the common trea- 
sury of the Roman Exchequer a daily pention allowed him of 
so many sestertii as in our coine amount to 16 pound and a 
marke, or thereabouts, which yearely did arise to any noble- 
mans revenues. So great was the fame of this Roscius, and 
so good his estimation, that learned Cato made a question 
whether Cicero could write better then Roscius could speake 
and act, or Roscius speake and act better then Cicero write ? 
Many times, when they had any important orations to be with 
an audible and loud voyce delivered to the people, they im- 
ployed the tongue and memory of this excellent actor, to whom 
for his worth the senate granted such large exhibition. 

quce pervincere voces 

Evaluere sonum, referunt quern nostra theatra ? 
Garganum mugire putes ncmus, aut mare Thuscwn ; 
Tanto cum strepitu ludi spectantur et artes. 

What voyce can be compared with the sound 
Our theaters from their deepe concaves send ? 
For their reverberate murmurs seeme to drownd 
The Gorgan wood, when the proud windes contend, 


Or when rough stormes the Thuscan billowes raise ; 
With such loud joy they ring our arts and playes. 

To omit all the doctors, zawnyes, pantaloones, harlakeenes, 
in which the French, but especially the Italians, have beene 
excellent, and according to the occasion offered to do some 
right to our English actors, as Knell, Bentley, Mils, Wilson, 
Crosse, Lanam, and others, these, since I never saw them, as 
being before my time, I cannot (as an eye-witnesse of their de- 
sert) give them that applause, which no doubt they worthily 
merit ; yet by the report of many juditiall auditors their per- 
formances of many parts have been so absolute, that it were a 
kinde of sinne to drowne their worths in Lethe, and not 
commit their (almost forgotten) names to eternity. Here I 
must needs remember Tarleton, in his time gratious with the 
queene, his soveraigne, and in the people's generall applause, 
whom succeeded Wil. Kemp, as wel in the favour of her 
majesty, as in the opinion and good thoughts of the generall 
audience. Gabriel, Singer, Pope, Phillips, Sly, all the right 
I can do them is but this, that, though they be dead, their de- 
serts yet live in the remembrance of many. Among so many 
dead, let me not forget one yet alive, in his time the most 
worthy, famous Maister Edward Allen. To omit these, as 
also such as for their divers imperfections may be thought in- 
sufficient for the quality, actors should be men pick'd out 
personable, according to the parts they present : they should 
be rather schollers, that, though they cannot speake well, 
know how to speake, or else to have that volubility that they 
can speake well, though they understand not what, and so both 
imperfections may by instructions be helped and amended : but 
where a good tongue and a good conceit both faile, there can 
never be good actor. I also could wish, that such as are con- 
demned for their licentiousnesse, might by a generall consent 
bee quite excluded our society ; for, as we are men that stand 
in the broad eye of the world, so should our manners, gestures, 


and behaviours, savour of such government and modesty, to de- 
serve the good thoughts and reports of all men, and to abide 
the sharpest censures even of those that are the greatest oppo- 
sites to the quality. Many amongst us I know to be of sub- 
stance, of government, of sober lives, and temperate carriages, 
house-keepers, and contributory to all duties enjoyned them, 
equally with them that are rank't with the most bountifull ; 
and if amongst so many of sort, there be any few degenerate 
from the rest in that good demeanor which is both requisite 
and expected at their hands, let me entreat you not to censure 
hardly of all for the misdeeds of some, but rather to excuse 
us, as Ovid doth the generality of women : 

Par cite paucarum diffundere crimen in omnes : 
Spectetur meritis qu&que puella suis. 

For some offenders, that perhaps are few, 
Spare in your thoughts to censure all the crew : 
Since every breast containes a sundry spirit, 
Let every one be censur'd as they merit. 

Others there are of whom, should you aske my opinion, I 
must refer you to this, Consule theatrum. Here I might take 
fit opportunity to reckon up all our English writers, and com- 
pare them with the Greeke, French, Italian, and Latine poets, 
not only in their pastoral!, historicall, elegiacall, and he- 
roicall poems, but in their tragicall and comicall subjects ; but 
it was my chance to happen on the like, learnedly done by an 
approved good scholler, in a booke called Wits Common- 
wealth, to which treatise I wholy referre you, returning to 
our present subject. Julius Caesar himselfe for his pleasure 
became an actor, being in shape, state, voyce, judgement, 
and all other occurrents, exterior and interior, excellent. 
Amongst many other parts acted by him in person, it is re- 
corded of him that, with generall applause in his own theater, 
he played Her cules Fur ens; and, amongst many other arguments 
of his compleatenesse, excellence, and extraordinary care in his 


action, it is thus reported of him : Being in the depth of a 
passion, one of his servants (as his part then fell out) pre- 
senting LychaSj who before had from Dejanira brought him 
the poysoned shirt, dipt in the blood of the centaure, Nessus, 
he, in the middest of his torture and fury, finding this Lychas 
hid in a remote corner (appoynted him to creep into of pur- 
pose), although he was, as our tragedians use, but seemingly 
to kill him by some false imagined wound, yet was Caesar so 
extremely carried aw r ay with the violence of his practised fury, 
and by the perfect shape of the madnesse of Hercules, to which 
he had fashioned all his active spirits, that he slew him dead 
at his foot, and after swoong him, tcrque quatcrque (as the poet 
says) about his head. It was the manner of their emperours, 
in those dayes, in their publicke tragedies, to choose out the 
fittest amongst such as for capital offences were condemned 
to dye, and imploy them in such parts as were to be kild in 
the tragedy ; who of themselves would make suit rather so 
to dye with resolution, and by the hands of such princely 
actors, then otherwise to suffer a shamefull and most detest- 
able end. And these were tragedies naturally performed ; 
and such Caius Caligula, Claudius Nero, Vitellius, Domi- 
tianus, Commodus, and other emperours of R^nie, upon their 
festivals and holy daies of greatest consecration, used to act. 
Therefore M. Kid, in his Spanish Tragedy, upon occasion pre- 
senting itselfe, thus writes. 

Why, Nero thought it no disparagement, 
And kings and emperours have tane delight 
To make experience of their wits in playes. 

These exercises, as traditions, have beene since (though in 
better manner) continued through all ages, amongst all the 
noblest nations of the earth. But I have promised to be alto- 
gether compendious : presuming that what before is discount 
may, for the practise of playes, their Antiquity and Dignity, 
be altogether sufficient, I omit the shewcs and ceremonies. 


even in these times, generally used among the Catholikes, in 
which, by the churchmen and most religious, divers pageants, 
as of the Nativity, Passion, and Ascention, with other histo- 
ricall places of the bible, are at divers times and seasons of 
the yeare usually celebrated sed hcec pr&ter me. In the 
yeare of the world, 4207, of Christ, 246, Origen writ certaine 
godly epistles to Philip, then emperour of Rome, who was 
the first Christian emperour, and in his life I reade that in 
the fourth yeare of his reigne, which was the 1000 yeare after 
the building of Rome, he solemnized that yeare as a jubilee 
with sumptuous pageants and playes. Homer, the most ex- 
cellent of all poets, composed his Iliads in the shape of a tra- 
gedy, his Odisseas like a comedy. Virgil, in the first of his 
^Eneids, in his description of Dido's Carthage, 

hie alta theatris 

Fundamenta locant alii, immanesque columnas 
Rupibus excidunt, scenis decora altafuturis. 

Which proves that in those dayes, immediately after the ruine 
of Troy, when Carthage had her first foundation, they built 
theatres with stately columnes of stone, as in his description 
may appears. I have sufficiently discourst of the first theaters, 
and in whose times they were erected, even till the reigrie of 
Julius Caesar, the first emperour, and how they continued in 
their glory from him till the reigne of Marcus Aurelius, the 
23 emperour, and from him even to these times. Now, to 
prove they were in as high estimation at Lacedaemon and 
Athens, two the most famous cities of Greece. Cicero, in his 
booke, Cafo Major, sen de Senectute : Cum Athenis ludis 
quidam grandis natu in theatrum venisset, &c. An ancient 
citizen comming into one of the Athenian theatres to see the 
pastimes there solemnized (which shewes that the most antient 
and grave frequented them), by reason of the throng, no man 
gave him place or reverence ; but the same citizen, being im- 
ploy'd in an embassy to Lacedaemon, and coming like a private 


man into the theater, the generall multitude arose at once, 
and with great ceremonious reverence gave his age place. 
This Cicero alledges to prove the reverence due to age, and 
this I may fitly introduce to the approbation of my present 
subject. Moreover, this great statesman of Rome, at whose 
exile twenty thousand of the chiefest Roman citizens wore 
mourning apparrel, oftentimes commends Plautus, calling him 
Plautus noster, and Atticorwn ant'ujna comcdift, where he 
proceeds further to extoll ^Esopus for personating Ajax, and 
the famous actor, Rupilius, in Epigonus, Medea, Menalip, 
Clytemnestra, and Antiope, proceeding in the same place 
with this worthy and grave sentence, JKrgo histrio hue vidclnt 
in scend, quod non videbit sapiens in vita f Shall a tragedian 
see that in his scene, which a wise man cannot see in the course 
of- his life ? So, in another of his workes, amongst many in- 
structions to his sonne Marcus, he applauds Turpio Ambivius 
for his action, Statius, Naevius, and Plautus, for their writing. 
Ovid in Auyustum : 

Luminibusque tuis tctus quibus utititr orbis, 
Scenica vidisti Imm adult eria. 

Those eyes, with which you all the world survey, 
See in your theaters our actors play. 

Augustus Caesar, because he would have some memory of 
his love to those places of pastime, reared in Rome two 
stately obeUsci ,or pyramides, one in Julius Caesar's temple in 
the field of Mars, another in the great theater, called Circus 
Maximus, built by Flaminius : these were in height an hun- 
dred cubits a peece, in bredth fuure cubits : they were first 
raised by king Pheron in the temple of the Sunne, and after 
removed to Rome by Augustu-. The occasion of their first 
composure was this : Pheron, for some great crime committed 
by him in his youth against the (iods, was by them strookc 
blinde, and so continued the space of ten yeares ; but, after a 


revelation in the citty Bucis, it was told that if he washt his 
eyes in the water of a woman that was chaste, and never adul- 
terately touch't with any save her husband, he should againe 
recover his sight. The king first tride his wife, then many 
other of the most grave and best reputed matrons, but con- 
tinued still in despaire, till at length hee met with one vertuous 
lady, by whose chastity his sight was restored, whom (having 
first commanded his queene and the rest to be consumed with 
fire) he after married. Pheron, in memory of this, 
builded his two pyramides, after removed 
to Rome by Augustus. 

Sanctaque mqfestas, et erat venerabile nomen 




the true use of their quality. 


TRAGEDIES and comedies, saith Donatus, had their begin- 
ning a rebus dirutis, from divine sacrifices. They differ thus : 
in comedies turbulentaprima, tranquil I a ultima; in tragedyes, 
tranquilla prima, turbulenta ultima : comedies begin in 
trouble and end in peace ; tragedies begin in calmes, and end in 
tempest. Of comedies there be three kindes moving comedies, 
called motaricc ; standing comedies, called statariw, or mixt 
betwixt both, called mistce : they are distributed into foure 
parts, the prologue, that is, the preface ; the protasis, that is 
the proposition, which includes the first act, and presents the 
actors ; the epitasis, which is the businesse and body of the 
comedy ; the last, the catastrophe, and conclusion. The deffi- 
nition of the comedy, according to the Latins : a discourse, 
consisting of divers institutions, comprehending civill and do- 
mesticke things, in which is taught what in our lives and 
manners is to be followed, what to bee avoyded. The Greekes 
define it thus : Koftodia ami/ IftiaiTiKaiv <i irokvrut&v trpayfutrotv n\ tv 
8ovo$ 7Topoixr]v. Cicero saith a comedy is the imitation of life, 
the glasse of custome, and the image of truth. In Athens they 
had their first original!. The ancient comedians used to attire 


their actors thus : the old men in white, as the most ancient of 
all, the yong men in party-coloured garments, to note their 
diversity of thoughts, their slaves and servants in thin and bare 
vesture, either to note their poverty, or that they might run 



the more lighter about their affaires : their parasites wore robes 
that were turned in, and intricately wrapped about them ; the 
fortunate in white, the discontented in decayed vesture, or 
garments growne out of fashion ; the rich in purple, the poore 
in crimson ; souldiers wore purple jackets, hand-maids the 
habits of strange virgins, bawds pide coates, and curtezans 
garments of the colour of mud, to denote their covetousnesse : 
the stages were hung with rich arras, which was first brought 
from King Attalus into Rome 5 his state hangings were so 
costly, that from him all tapestries and rich arras were called 
Attalia. This being a thing antient, as I have proved it, next 
of dignity. As many arguments have confirmed it, and now 
even in these dayes by the best, without exception, favourably 
tollerated, why should I yeeld my censure, grounded on such 
firm and establish! sufficiency, to any tower founded on sand, 
any castle built in the aire, or any triviall upstart, and meere 
imaginary opinion ? 

Oderunt hilarem tristes, tristemquejocosi. 

I hope there is no man of so unsensible a spirit, that can in- 
veigh against the true and direct use of this quality. Oh, but 
say they, the Romanes in their time, and some in these dayes, 
have abused it, and therefore we volly out our exclamations 
against the use. Oh shallow ! because such a man hath his 


house burnt, we shall quite condemne the use of fire ; because 
one man quaft poyson, we must forbeare to drinke $ because 
some have bean shipwrak't, no man shall hereafter trafficke by 
sea. Then I may as well argue thus : he cut his finger, there- 
fore must I weare no knife ; yond man fell from his horse, 
therefore must I travell a foot ; that man surfeited, therefore 
I dare not eate. What can appeare more absurd then such a 
grosse arid sencelesse assertion ? I could turne this unpoynted 
weapon against his breast that aimes it at mine, and reason 
thus : Roscius had a large pension allowed him by the senate 
of Rome, why should not an actor of the like desert have the 


like allowance now ? or this, the most famous city and nation 
in the world held playes in great admiration ; ergo but it is 
a rule in logicke, ex particitlaribus nildl jit. These are not 
the basses we must build upon, nor the columnes that must 
support our architecture. 

Et latro, et cautus predngitur ense viator : 
II le sed insidiasy hie sibi portat opem. 

Both theeves and true-men weapons weare alike : 
TV one to defend, the other comes to strike. 

Let us use fire to warme us, not to scortch us ; to make 
ready our necessaries, not to burne our houses : let us drinke 
to quench our thirst, not to surfet ; and eate to satisfie nature, 
not to gormondize. 

Comtedia recta si mente legatttr, 
Constabit nulli posse nocere. 

Playes are in use as they are understood, 
Spectators eyes may make them bad or good. 

Shall we condemne a generallity for any one particular mis- 
construction ? give me then leave to argue thus. Amongst 
kings have there not beene some tyrants ? yet the office of a 
king is the image of the majesty of God. Amongst true sub- 
jects have there not crept in some false traitors ? even amongst 
the twelve there was Judas, but shall we for his fault censure 
worse of the eleven ? God forbid ! art thou prince or peasant ? 
art thou of the nobility or commonalty ? Art thou merchant 
or souldier ? of the citty or country ? Art thou preacher or 
auditor? Art thou tutor or pupill ? There have beene of 
thy function bad and good, propliane and holy. I induce these 
instances to confirme this common argument, that the use of 
any gencrall thing is not for any one particular abuse to be 
condemned ; for if that assertion stoode firmo, wee should run 
into many notable inconveniences. 



Qui locus est templis angustior hanc quoque vitet, 
In culpam si qua est ingeniosa mam. 

To proceed to the matter. First, playing is an ornament to 
the citty, which strangers of all nations repairing hither report 
of in their countries, beholding them here with some admira- 
tion ; for what variety of entertainment can there be in any 
citty of christendome more then in London ? But some will 
say, this dish might be very well spared out of the banquet : 
to him I answere, Diogenes, that used to feede on rootes, 
cannot relish a march-pane. Secondly, our English tongue, 
which hath ben the most harsh, uneven, and broken language 
of the world, part Dutch, part Irish, Saxon, Scotch, Welsh, 
and indeed a gallimaffry of many, but perfect in none, is now by 
this secondary meanes of playing continually refined, every 
writer striving in himselfe to adde a new florish unto it ; so 
that in processe, from the most rude and unpolisht tongue, it is 
growne to a most perfect and composed language, and many 
excellent workes and elaborate poems writ in the same, that 
many nations grow inamored of our tongue (before despised.) 
Neither Saphicke, lonicke, lambicke, Phaleuticke, Adonicke, 
Gliconicke, Hexamiter, Tetramitrer, Pentamiter, Asclepe- 
diacke, Choriambicke, nor any other measured verse used 
among the Greekes, Latins, Italians, French, Dutch, or Spanish 
writers, but may be exprest in English, be it blanke verse or 
meeter, in distichon, or hexastichon, or in what forme or feet, 
or what number you can desire. Thus you see to what excel- 
lency our refined English is brought, that in these daies we 
are ashamed of that euphony and eloquence, which within these 
60 yeares the best tongues in the land were proud to pronounce. 
Thirdly, playes have made the ignorant more apprehensive, 
taught the unlearned the knowledge of many famous histories, 
instructed such as cannot reade in the discovery of all our 
English chronicles ; and what man have you now of that 
weake capacity that cannot discourse of any notable thing 


recorded even from William the Conquerour, nay, from the 
landing of Brute, untill this day ? beeing possest of their true 
use, for or because playes are writ with this ay me, and car- 
ryed with this methode, to teach their subjects obedience to 
their king, to shew the people the untimely ends of such as 
have moved tumults, commotions, and insurrections, to present 
them with the flourishing estate of such as live in rj se O f tra^e- 
obedience, exhorting them to allegeance, dehort- tlies> 
ing them from all trayterous and fellonious stratagems. 

Omne genus scripti gravitate tragedia vincit. 

If we present a tragedy, we include the fatall and abortive 
ends of such as commit notorious murders, which u se O f histo- 
is aggravated and acted with all the art that may nca11 P la y es - 
be to terrifie men from the like abhorred practises. If wee 
present a forreigne history, the subject is so intended, that in 
the lives of Romans, Grecians, or others, either the vertues of 
our countrymen are extolled, or their vices reproved ; as thus, 
by the example of Caesar to stir souldiers to valour and mag- 
nanimity ; by the fall of Pompey that no man trust in his owne 
strength : we present Alexander killing his friend in his rage, 
to reprove rashnesse ; Mydas, choked with his gold, to taxe 
covetousnesse ; Nero against tyranny ; Sardanapalus against 
luxury ; Ninus against ambition, with infinite others, by 
sundry instances either animating men to noble attempts, or 
attacking the consciences of the spectators, finding them- 
selves toucht in presenting the vices of others. 

Use of Morals. 

If amorall, it is to perswade men to humanity and 

good life, to instruct them in civility and good Use of Come- 

manners, shewing them the fruits of honesty, and 

the end of villany. 

Versibus exponi traylcis res comica non vult. 
Againe Horace, Artc Poct'ica, 

At vestri proari Plautinos <-t /tt/n/t ro\- tt 
Laudarcre sales. 


If a comedy, it is pleasantly contrived with merry accidents, 
and intermixt with apt and witty jests, to present before the 
prince at certain times of solemnity, or else merily fitted to the 
stage. And what is then the subject of this harmlesse mirth ? 
either in the shape of a clowne to shew others their slovenly 
and unhandsome behaviour, that they may reforme that sim- 
plicity in themselves which others make their sport, lest they 
happen to become the like subject of generall scorne to an 
auditory; else it intreates of love, deriding foolish inamorates, 
who spend their ages, their spirits, nay themselves, in the ser- 
vile and ridiculous imployments of their mistresses : and these 
are mingled with sportfull accidents, to recreate such as of 
themelres are wholly devoted to melancholly, which corrupts 
the bloud, or to refresh such weary spirits as are tired with 
labour or study, to moderate the cares and heavinesse of the 
minde, that they may returne to their trades and faculties 
with more zeale and earnestnesse, after some small, soft, and 
pleasant retirement. Sometimes they discourse of pantaloones, 
usurers that have unthrifty sonnes, which both the fathers and 
sonnes may behold to their instructions : sometimes of cur- 
tezans, to divulge their subtelties and snares in which young 
men may be intangled, shewing them the meanes to avoyd 
them. If we present a pastorall, we shew the harmlesse love 
Use of Pasto- f sheepheards diversely moralized, distinguishing 
betwixt the craft of the citty, and the innocency 
of the sheep-coat. Briefly, there is neither tragedy, history, 
comedy, morrall, or pastorall, from which an infinite use cannot 
be gathered. I speake not in the defence of any lascivious 
shewes, scurrelous jeasts, or scandalous invectives. If there be 
any such I banish them quite from my patronage ; yet Horace, 
Sermon L, satyr iv., thus writes : 

Eupolis atque Cratinus Aristophanesque poetce, 
Atque alii quorum comcedia prisca virorum est, 
Si qui.s trat dignus describi, quod mains, aut fur. 


Quod machusforet) ant sicarit/x, nut alioqui 
Famosus, multd CK/H llhertate notahant. 

Eupolis, Cratinus, Aristophanes, and other comike poets 
in the time of Horace, with large scope and unbridled liberty, 
boldly and plainly scourged all abuses, as in their ages were 
generally practised, to the staining and blemishing of a faire 
and beautifull common-weale. Likewise a learned gentleman 
in his Apology for Poetry speakes thus : Tragedies well handled 
be a most worthy kind of poesie. Comedies make men see 
and shame at their faults : and, proceeding further, amongst 
other University-playes he remembers the Tragedy of Richard 
the third, acted in St. Johns, in Cambridge, so essentially, 
that had the tyrant Phalaris beheld his bloudy proceedings, it 
had mollified his heart, and made him relent at sight of his 
inhuman massacres. Further, he commends of comedies, the 
Cambridge Pedant ins, and the Oxford Belium Grammati- 
calc ; and, leaving them, passes on to our publicke playes, 
speaking liberally in their praise, and what commendable use 
may be gathered of them. If you peruse Margarita Pm'tica, 
you may see what excellent uses and sentences he hath gathered 
out of Terence his Andrea, Ennuchws, and the rest : like- 
wise out of Plaittus, his Amphytryo, .l^inaria ; and, more- 
over, ex Coinediis Philodoxis, Carol i Acretini: De falsa 
Hi/porritd, et trixti Jfercurio, ltnti*ii IYy.r//V//N/\ : e.v ( n- 
mccdid Philanira, Uifolini P(ir//tc/f*is, all reverend schollers, 
and comicke poets. Roade elce the 4 tragedies, P/iilii/u'i a. 
Pefnis, Atnan, Katherina, C/a/clii Roiletti 7^<7/-<//>/x. 
But I should tire my si'lf? to r^-k<>n the names of all FnMich, 
Roman, (ii-rman, Spanish, Italian, and English poets, bfing 
in number infinite, and their lab'.n .'ant to appn.vj their 

Is thy minde noble, and wuiiidst tliDii be furlhrr stirM up 
to magnanimity? Behold upon the stage thou nnu.-t 
Hercules, Achilles, Alexander, Cnesar, Alcibiades, Lysantl 


ius, Hannibal, Antigonus, Philip of Macedon, Mi- 
thridates of Pontus, Pyrrhus of Epirus : Agesilaus among 
the Lacedemonians ; Epaminondas amongst the Thebans : Scse- 
vola alone entring the aimed tents of Porsenna : Horatius 
Codes alone withstanding the whole army of the Hetrurians : 


Leonidas of Sparta choosing a lyon to leade a band of deere, 
rather then one deere to conduct an armv of Ivons, with infi- 

* , 

nite others, in their own persones, qualities, and shapes, anima- 
ting thee with courage, deterring thee from cowardise. Hast 
thou of thy country well deserved "? and art thou of thy labour 


eyil requited r To associate thee thou mayst see the valiant 
Roman Marcellus pursue Hannibal at Xola. conquering 
Syracusa, vanquishing the Gauls at Padua, and presently 
(for his reward) banisht his country into Greece. There thou 
mayest see Soipio Africanus, now triumphing for the conquest 
of all Africa, and immediately exil'd the confines of Romania. 


Art thou inclined to lust ? behold the falles of the Tarquins 
in the rape of Lticrece ; the guerdon of luxury in the death of 
Sardanapalus ; Appius destroyed in the ravishing of Vir- 

ginia, and the destruction of Troy in the lust of Helena. Art 
thou proud ? our scene presents thee with the fall of Phaeton ; 
Narcissus pining in the love of his shadow ; ambitious Hamon, 
now calling himselfe a God, and by and by thrust headlong 
among the divels. \Ve present men with the uglinesse of 
their yices to make them the more to abhorre them ; as the 
Persians use, who, above all sinnes loathing drunkennesse, 
accustomed in their solemne feasts to make their seryants and 
captives extremely overcome with wine, and then call their 

children to view their nasty and lothsome behaviour, makino- 

them hate that sinne in themselves, which shewed so o-rosse and 
abhominable in others. The like use may be o-athered of the 


drunkards, so naturally imitated in our playes, to the applause 
of the actor, content of the auditory, and reproving of the vice. 
Art thou covetous r r go no further then Plautus. his comedy 
called Eu I 


Dum fallen* servus, di/rift pater, iinprolm lena 
Y, et meretriv blanda, Me/ifi/irlrvs erit. 

While ther's false servant, or obdurate sire, 

Sly baud, smooth whore, Menandros wee'l admire. 

To end in a word, art thou addicted to prodigallity, envy. 
cruelty, perjury, flattery, or rage ? our scenes affoord thee store 
of men to shape your lives by. who be frugall, loving, gentle, 
trusty, without soothing, and in all things temperate. Woukht 
thou be honourable, just, friendly, moderate, devout, merciful!, 

and loving concord ? thou ma vest see manv of their fates and 

. > 

ruines who have beene dishonourable, injust, false, gluttenous, 
sacrilegious, bloudy- minded, and brochers of dissention. Wo- 
men, likewise, that are chaste are by us extolled and en- 
couraged in their vertues, being instanced by Diana, Belphoebe, 
Matilda, Lucrece, and the Countess of Salisbury. The un- 

chaste are by us shewed their errors in the persons of Phryne, 
Lais, Thais, Flora ; and amongst us Rosamond and Mistivsse 
Shore. What can sooner print modesty in the soules of the 
wanton, then by discovering unto them the monstrousnesse 
of their sin ? It followes, that we prove these exercises to have 
beene the discoverers of many notorious murders, long con- 
cealed from the eyes of the world. To omit all farre-fetcht 
instances, we will prove it by a domestike and home-borne 

truth, which within these few years happened. At 

. , . A stra 

Lin, in Aorlolke, the then Karl of >u >-x players accident 

acting the old History of Foyer Francis and p**"" 1 ? ;1 -' 

. . . v - 

presenting a woman who, insatiately doting on a 

yong gentleman, (the more sei-uivly to enjoy his alYe.-tion) mis- 
chievously and secreetly murdered her husband, win - _ ost 

haunted her ; and, at divers timos, in her most solitary and 
private contemplations, in most horri-1 and fea refill shapes, ap- 
peared and stood before her. As this was acted, a tow '-- 
woman (till then of good estimation and ropnrt) finding her 

ron-uience (at this presentment^ "Xtron:- I -uble'. ; 
- iU 


skritched and cryd out, Oh ! my husband, my husband ! I see 
the ghost of my husband fiercely threatning and menacing me ! 
At which shrill and unexpected outcry, the people about her, 
moov'd to a strange amazement, inquired the reason of her 
clamour, when presently, un -urged, she told them that seven 
yeares ago she, to be possest of such a gentleman (meaning 
him), had poysoned her husband, whose fearefull image per- 
sonated it selfe in the shape of that ghost. Whereupon the 
murdresse was apprehended, before the justices further exa- 
mined, and by her voluntary confession after condemned. That 
this is true, as well by the report of the actors as the records 
of the towne, there are many eyewitnesses of this accident yet 
living vocally to confirme it. 

A strange As strange an accident happened to a company 

accident hap- c , , v , 10 

penino- at a * " ie same quality some 12 yeares ago, or not 

P la y- so much ; who, playing late in the night, at a place 

called Perin in Cornwall, certaine Spaniards were landed the 
same night, unsuspected and undiscovered, with intent to take 
in the towne, spoyle, and burne it, when suddenly, even upon 
their entrance, the players (ignorant as the towne's-men of 
any such attempt) presenting a battle on the stage, with their 
drum and trumpets strooke up a lowde alarme : which the 
enemy hearing, and fearing they were discovered, amazedly 
retired, made some few idle shot, in a bravado, and so, in a 
hurly-burly, fled disorderly to their boats. At the report of 
this tumult, the towne's-men were immediately armed, and 
pursued them to the sea, praysing God for their happy deliver- 
ance from so great a danger, who by his providence made 
these strangers the instrument and secondary meanes of their 
escape from such imminent mischife, and the tyranny of so 
remorceless an enemy. 

Another of the like wonder happened at Am- 

A strange sterdam in Holland. A company of our English 

accident . L * 

happening comedians (well knowne) travelling those coun- 

tryes, as they were before the burgers and other 


the chiefe inhabitants, acting the last part of the Four Sons of 
Aymon, towards the last act of the history, where penitent 
Rinaldo, like a common labourer, lived in disguise. vowiiK>- as 

' DO 

his last pennance to labour and carry burdens to the structure 
of a goodly church there to be erected ; whose diligence the 
labourers envying, since by reason of his stature and strength, 
hee did usually perfect more worke in a day then a dozen of 
the best (hee working for his conscience, they for their lucres), 
whereupon, by reason his industry had so much disparaged 
their living, conspired among themselves to kill him, waiting 
some opportunity to finde him asleepe, which they might easily 
doe, since the sorest labourers are the soundest sleepers, and 
industry is the best preparative to rest. Having spy\l their 
opportunity, they drave a naile into his temples, of which 
wound immediatly he dyed. As the actors handled this, the 
audience might on a sodaine understand an out-cry, and loud 
shrike in a remote gallery ; and pressing about the place, they 
might perceive a woman of great gravity strangely amazed, 
who with a distracted and troubled braine oft sighed out these 
words : " Oh, my husband, my husband !" The play, without 
further interruption, proceeded : the woman was to her owne 
house conducted, without any apparant suspition ; every one 
conjecturing as their fancies led them. In this agony she 
some few dayes languished, and on a time, as certaine of her 
well disposed neighbours came to comfort her, one amongst 
the rest being church-warden : to him the sexton posts, to tell 
him of a strange thing happening to him in the ripping up of a 
grave: See here (quoth he) what I have found; and she\ves 
them a faire skull, with a great nayle pierst quite through the 
braine-pan : But we cannot conjecture to whom it should be- 
long, nor how long it hath laine in the earth, the grave b.-ing 
confused, and the flesh consumed. At the report of this acci- 
dent, the woman, out of the trouble of her ufllieled conscience, 
discovered a former murder; for 12 yeare- ago, by driving 
that nayle into that skull, being the head of her husband, she 


had trecherously slaine him. This being publickly confest, 
she was arraigned, condemned, adjudged, and burned. But I 
draw my subject to greater length then I purposed : these 
therefore out of other infinites I have collected, both for their 
familiarnesse and latenesse of memory. 

Thus, our antiquity we have brought from the Grecians in 
the time of Hercules ; from the Macedonians in the age of 
Alexander ; from the Romans long before Julius Caesar ; 
and since him, through the reigns of 23 emperours succeed- 
ing, even to Marcus Aurelius : after him they were supported 
by the Mantuans, Venetians, Valencians, Neapolitans, the 
Florentines, and others : since, by the German princes, the 
Palsgrave, the Landsgrave, the dukes of Saxony, of Brouns- 
wicke, c. The cardinall at Bruxels hath at this time in pay 
a company of our English comedians. The French king 
allowes certaine companies in Paris, Orleans, besides other 
cities : so doth the king of Spaine, in Civill, Madrill, and 
other provinces. But in no country they are of that eminence 
that our's are : so our most royall and ever renouned sove- 
raigne hath licenced us in London : so did his predecessor, 
the thrice vertuous virgin, Queene Elizabeth ; and before her, 
her sister, Queene Mary, Edward the sixth, and their father, 
Henry the eighth : and before these, in the tenth yeare of the 
reigne of Edward the fourth, Anno 1490. John Stowe, an 
ancient and grave chronicler, records (amongst other varieties 
tending to the like effect) that a play was acted at a place 
called Skinners-well, fast by Clerken-well, which continued 
eight dayes, and was of matter from Adam and Eve (the first 
creation of the world) . The spectators were no worse then 
the royalty of England. And amongst other commendable 
exercises in this place, the Company of the Skinners of Lon- 
don held certaine yearely solemne playes ; in place whereof, 
now in these latter daies, the wrastling, and such other pas- 
times have been kept, and is still held about Bartholmew- 
tide. Also in the yeare 1390, the 14 yeare of the reigne of 


Richard the second, the 18 of July, were the like enterludes 
recorded of at the same place, which continued 3 dayes toge- 
ther, the king and queene, and nobility being there present. 
Moreover, to this day in divers places of England there be 
townes that hold the priviledge of their faires, and other char- 
ters by yearely stage-playes, as at Manningtree in Suffolke, 
Kendall in the north, and others. To let these passe, as 
things familiarly knowne to all men. Now, to speake of some 
abuse lately crept into the quality, as an inveighing against 
the state, the court, the law, the citty, and their governe- 
ments, with the particularizing of private men's humors (yet 
alive), noble-men, and others: I know it distastes many; 
neither do I any way approve it, nor dare I by any meanes 
excuse it. The liberty which some arrogate to themselves, 
committing their bitternesse, and liberall invectives against all 
estates, to the mouthes of children, supposing their juniority 
to be a priviledge for any rayling, be it never so violent, I 
could advise all such to curbe and limit this presumed liberty 
within the bands of discretion and government. But wise and 
judiciall censurers, before whom such complaints shall at any 
time hereafter come, wil not (I hope) impute these abuses to 
any transgression in us, who have ever been carefull and pro- 
vident to shun the like. I surcease to prosecute this any 
further, lest my good meaning be (by some) misconstrued ; 
and fearing likewise, lest with tediousnesse I tire the 
patience of the favourable Reader, heere 
(though abruptly) 1 conclude 
my third and last 


Stultitiam patiuntur GJJCS, mi/ti parvula re* cat. 


cA*l frfet H. 

o my approved good Friend, 

THE infinite faults escaped in my booke of Britaines Troy 

by the negligence of the printer, as the misquotations, mis- 

taking of sillables, misplacing halfe lines, coining of strange 

and never heard of words, these being without number, 

when I would have taken a particular account of the errata, 

the printer answered me, hee \vould not publish his owne dis- 

workemanship, but rather let his owne fault lye upon the 

necke of the author. And being fearefull that others of his 

quality had beene of the same nature and condition, and find- 

ing you, on the contrary, so carefull and industrious, so serious 

and laborious to doe the author all the rights of the presse, I 

could not choose but gratulate your honest indeavours with 

this short remembrance. Here, likewise, I must necessarily 

insert a manifest injury done me in that worke, by taking the 

two epistles of Paris to Helen, and Helen to Paris, and 

printing them in a lesse volume under the name of another, 

which may put the world in opinion I might steale them from 

him, and hee, to doe himselfe right, hath since published them 

in his owne name : but, as I must acknowledge my lines not 

worthy his patronage under whom he hath publisht them, so 

the author, I know, much offended with M. Jaggard (that al- 

together unknowne to him), presumed to make so bold with 

his name. These and the like dishonesties I knowe 

you to bee cleere of ; and I could wish but to 

bee the happy author of so worthy a 

worke as I could willingly com- 

mit to your care and 


Yours, ever, 



Page 4, line 9. I need alledge no more then the royalland princely ser- 
vices in which we now live.] Alluding to the fact that, on the accession of 
James I., the king took into his service the Lord Chamberlain's players, the 
queen those of the Earl of Worcester, and Prince Henry those of the Earl 
of Nottingham. Vide " Memoirs of Edward Alleyn," p. 61, Xotc. 

Page 4, line 22. Learned Doctor Gager, Doctor Gentiles, and others.] 
Drs. Gager and Gentiles were the adversaries of Dr. Rainoldes in the " con- 
troversy" which ended in the publication of " The Overthrow of Stage 
Playes," by the latter, in 1599 or 1600. 

Page 4, line 31. True gatherers.] The " gatherers" were what we now 
call the money-takers at the doors of theatres. Actors at this time were 
generally " sharers" of the profits, and faithful receivers of money paid on 
admission were therefore important. See the term more fully explained 
in " Hist. Eiiftl. Dram. Poetry and the Stage," III. 403. 

Page 8, line 21. Ar. Hopton.] The author of these laudatory stanzas 
died two years after they were printed. He was a young man of extra- 
ordinary attainments and promise. Fide Wood's Ath. Oxon, 11. 151. Edit. 

Pa^e 9, line 20. John Webster.] All that was then known about this 

rt ' J 

highly-gifted dramatic author was collected and published by the Rev. 
A. D)ce, in his edition of Webster's Works, 4 vols. post 8vo., 1830. Hens- 
lowe's Diary supplies information of much interest respecting some lost 
productions by Webster. 

Page 10, line 2/. Rich. Perkins.] The name of this actor, who did not 
attain his highest eminence until some years after 1G12, occurs in 11 
luwe's Diary. For him Marlowe's " Rich Jew of Malta" was revived by 
Hey wood, and printed in 1633. 

Page 11, line 13. (,'lnistopher Beeston.] This actor's name also occurs 
late in Hensloue's Diary. He afterwards became a pla\er at the Cockpit 
theatre in Drury Lane, for which Hey wood wrote ; and in 1636 he was the 
master of a company of juveni'e performers 

64 NOTES. 

Page 11, line 22. Robert Pallant] This actor subsequently joined the 
King's Company, and arrived at some eminence. 

Page 12, line 34. John Taylor.] This person is not to be confounded 
with Joseph Taylor, the actor, who has been mistakenly supposed to have 
been the original Hamlet, a part which was first sustained by Richard Bur- 
bage. John Taylor was known as " the Water-poet," because he com- 
menced life as apprentice to a waterman, and for some years followed the 
occupation. He was an extremely voluminous author, and his collected 
works were printed in 1630, folio. 

Page 15, line 18. It hath pleased the high and mighty Princes of this 
land to limit the use of certain publicke theaters. ] This passage appears 
to refer to the orders of the Privy Council to limit the number of theatres 
in use at the end of the reign of Elizabeth. Fide " Hist, of Engl. Dram. 
Poetry and the Stage," I. 31 1, &c. 

Page 15, line 26. To stop the envious acclamations of those who cha- 
lenge to themselves a priveledge invective, &c.] This passage, and some 
others of the same kind, refer generally to such works as the " Invective" 
of Stephen Gosson, under the title of " the School of Abuse," " the Ana- 
tomy of Abuses," by Philip Stubbes, &c. 

Page 16, line 27. T might behold the colour of her fresh roabe, all crim- 
son breathed, &c.] This expression is further explained by a line in the 
blank-verse speech, which Hey wood subsequently puts into the mouth of 
Melpomene : 

" Such with their breath have blasted my fresh roabe." 

Page 23, line 11. If such rich wages thou wilt give to me.] These con- 
cluding lines had already been used by Gosson in his " School of Abuse." 
Vide p. 19 of our reprint. 

Page 29, line 15. It instructs him to fit his phrases to his action, and 
his action to his phrase.] So Hamlet, Act III., Scene 2 " Suit the action 
to the word, the word to the action." 

Page 40, line 10. The king of Denmarke, father to him that now 
reigneth, entertained into his service a company of English comedians.] 
See also p. 58, where it is said that an English company was performing in 
Amsterdam. No date is given, but circumstances shew that it must have 
been subsequent to 1602. 

Page 43, line 6. Knell, Bentley, Mils, Wilson, Crosse, Lanam, and 
others, these, since I never saw them, as being before my time, &c.] We 
may conclude from this passage that these celebrated actors were dead be- 
fore 1596, which, as has been shown in the Introduction, was, in all proba- 
bility, the date of Hey wood's earliest connection with the stage. 

NOTES. 65 

Page 43, line 13. Here I must needs remember Tarleton, in his time gra- 
tious with the queene.] Richard Tarlton died in September, 1588. Many 
materials for a separate life of this extraordinary actor might be collected: 
he has furnished some of them himself, and he is mentioned by many 
writers of his own time and afterwards. 

Page 43, line 16. Whom succeeded Wil. Kemp.] Thomas Nash, about 
1589, the year after Tarlton's death., calls Kemp " Jest-monger and Vice- 
gerent general to the Ghost of Dicke Tarlton." There are several 
entries in Henslowe's Diary, shewing that Kemp belonged to (he company 
acting under Alleyn's management in 1602, although he had been one of 
the Lord Chamberlain's players, in 1596. He probably commenced as an 
actor with Alleyn about 1586 or 1587, then joined the association to which 
Shakespeare was attached, and finally returned to his old quarters. 

Page 43, line 18. Gabriel.] i. e., Gabriel Spencer, who was killed by Ben 
Jonson Vide " Memoirs of Edward Alleyn," page 51. He seems to have 
been generally known by his Christian name ; and so he is spoken of by 
Henslowe, in his letter of 26th September, 1598. This opportunity may 
be taken to correct an error in the " Memoirs of Edward Alleyn," where 
it is said that two persons of the Christian name of Gabriel belonged to 
Henslowe's company in 1598; viz., Gabriel Spencer and Gabriel Singer. 
The name of the latter was John Singer, and no Gabriel Singer occurs in 
Henslowe's Diary. The mistake originated, probably, in Collier's " Hist, 
of Engl. Dram. Poetry and the Stage," I. 351., where " Gabriel" is 
misprinted for John. 

Page 43, line 26. They should be rather schollers.] We ought, per- 
haps, to read either for " rather." 

Page 44, line 26. A booke called Wit's Commonwealth.] The cele- 
brated work, by Francis Meres, printed in 1598, 12mo., which contains, 
on Sig. O o 2, the often-quoted enumeration of twelve of Shakespeare's 
dramas, including " Love's Labours Won," and " Titus Andronicu<." 

Page 45, line 24. Therefore M. Kid, in his Spanish Tragedy, upon 
occasion presenting itselfe, thus writes.] The lines here quoted by Hey- 
wood occur in Act V. of the " Spanish Tragedy." It is upon Hey wood's 
authority that the play has been attributed to Thomas Kyd. 

Page 49, line 20. dx iv Soi/os- nnpotxrjv.'] So it stands in the original ; 
and it is, perhaps, impossible now to set the corruption right, as Hey wood 
does not quote his authority. 

Page 55, line 7. Likewise a learned gentleman in his Apology for 
Poetry.] Heywood here quotes from Sir John Harington's " Apologie of 
Poetrie," prefixed to his translation of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso in 159L 


66 NOTES. 

Page 58, line 6. Meaning him.] " Meaning" is misprinted in the origi- 
nal for naming. Cartwright did not detect and correct the error in his re- 
impression. In the same way, in line 17, he allowed " Perm, in Cornwall," 
to stand, instead of Penrin, or Penryn. 

Page 61, line 8. Now to speake of some abuse lately crept into the 
quality, as inveighing against the state, &c.] The following passage from 
the epistle before H. Parrot's " More the Merrier," 4to., 1608, will not be 
out of place : " As for satyrick inveighing at any man's private person (a 
kind of writing which, of late, seemes to have been very familiar among our 
poets and players, to their cost), my reader is to seeke it elsewhere." See 
also, upon this point, a very curious account in Von Raumer's "History of 
the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries," (II. 219) of the interference of 
the French Ambassador in April, 1606, to punish the actors and put a stop 
to the performance of Chapman's play, on the Life of the Duke of Biron, 
in consequence of the introduction of the Queen of France into it, giving a 
box on the ear to Mademoiselle de Verneuil. From the same work it 
appears that James I. had been represented on the stage two days before. 

Page 62, line 15. Here, likewise, I must necessarily insert a manifest 
injury done to me, &c.] This passage establishes that the edition of " The 
Passionate Pilgrim," with the date of 1612, was published before Heywood's 
"Apology for Actors' 3 came out in the same year. It was in that work 
that Jaggard, the careless and fraudulent printer, inserted " the two 
Epistles of Paris to Helen, and Helen to Paris," which Heywood had 
translated in his " Great Britain's Troy." Jaggard attributed them to 
Shakespeare. Malone had a copy of " The Passionate Pilgrim," with two 
title-pages ; in one of which a correction was made, perhaps, in consequence 
of Heywood's remonstrance.